Course Goals

  • Understand the purpose of Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER).
  • Outline the data sources necessary for CER.
  • Identify an appropriate study design for a given CER question.
  • Perform statistical analyses appropriate to the chosen study design.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines the goal of CER as “inform[ing] health-care decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options. The evidence is generated from research studies that compare drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, or ways to deliver health care.”

Designed as an introduction to comparative effectiveness research (CER), participants will learn about the motivation for CER and how it compares to other research areas. The course will also delve into the purpose of CER and the variety of data sources and analytic methods that are used in CER studies. Further, course participants will gain experience performing data transformation and analysis using R, Stata or SAS.

Topics covered in this course include:

  • Data sources
  • Cohort studies
  • Case-control studies
  • Self-controlled studies

Session dates

March 20 – June 19, 2024

Time commitment

Online course work and assignments averaging two to three hours per week over 12 weeks.


Investigators who want to understand and apply CER methods to their research.

We believe that the research community is strengthened by understanding how a number of factors including gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture, religion, national origin, language, disability, and age shape the environment in which we live and work, affect each of our personal identities, and impacts all areas of human health.


Participants must have completed master’s-level introductory courses in regression and epidemiology, and must possess at least a basic working knowledge of SAS, Stata, or R.


View Available Discounts

Accreditation Statement

The Harvard Catalyst Education Program is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Harvard Catalyst Education Program’s policy requires full participation and the completion of all activity surveys to be eligible for CME credit; no partial credit is allowed.


The registration period is currently closed.