Clinical Research: Understanding Behind the Statistics (My Experience)

First of all, I must admit that mathematics and numbers are not my cup of tea, but this course makes it look so simple and interesting that I found myself enjoying every single video, and lecture! The course is called “Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics” from the University of Cape Town South Africa. It teaches you how to read articles, studies and papers (from PubMed, for example) properly.

This means:

  • Looking for keywords
  • Knowing if the method was chosen correctly and wisely, in correlation to the data
  • Knowing which studies and papers are trustworthy
  • knowing how to look for papers and studies properly
  • Knowing how to use specific formulas and interpreting them in studies

And lots more…

My Experience with this Clinical Research Course

I must say that one of the reasons the course was so easy to follow is because Dr Juan Klopper, the instructor, does an amazing job explaining every detail, especially the formulas, in a simple and understandable way.

Now, you might wonder; Why should I do this course?

Well, in my case it is because I am studying psychology and when doing research, writing articles, and essays, and working on my thesis, I need trustworthy and professional sources; we must understand that Wikipedia is not the go-to in this area!

My background and skills stepping into this course were higher than basic because as psychologists we must know how to interpret data and how to conduct case studies. By the end of it, I learned way more than I expected I would.

Another major reason I did this clinical research course and why I encourage other people to try it is because sadly, we can find loads of “articles” and so-called “professionals” who come to erroneous conclusions using wrong data. Even worse, some use wrong approaches to contaminate the data and get the results they “want” and not the actual results. (Studies around hormone usage is a perfect example of this).

A Bit More About the Course

The way the course works breaks down is as follows:

  • You’ll get videos and lectures to watch and read
  • Each week has graded practice quizzes
  • Another way you can be evaluated is via “Peer Review” in which you’d look for a case study on PubMed and answer some questions. Your answers will be reviewed by other people doing the course and you need to evaluate them (the course gives you a structure and questions to follow when evaluating others).
  • You can watch extra material and have a chance to be an “Honours Student” after which you can get an extra “Peer Review” evaluation.
  • The course has flexible time goals
  • It is 100% online
  • It takes approximately 27 hours to complete
  • Variety of subtitles available


To conclude with this review, I will say that this course is a must if you are interested or involved in the area of research or even if you would like to understand more about what all those numbers and statistics mean.

And do not be afraid of the numbers, when it comes to clinical research, by the end you will realize it is not as hard as it looks and you might even start looking for more courses! I hope this compact review helps you get an idea of the course and I encourage you to challenge yourself, leave your comfort zone and give it a try!

What do you think about the learning points in the Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics? You can access it via Coursea, and it has a very high rating from students. We think it’s well worth checking out! 

Agustin Cardone

Agustin Cardone, from Argentina, currently lives in Ireland, and studies psychology in Mexico. He fell in love with sports when he started playing rugby at 14, soon becoming team captain. He now lifts weights and practices boxing as a way to release stress. He is highly interested in the relationship between body and mind, and is curious about how the brain works and why people do what they do. He would like to help people with addiction, depression, and personality disorders. He believes we all have a story to tell and that we should express it.

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