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 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 10 – June 2, 2021

Time commitment

Online course work and assignments averaging 2-3 hours per week over 12 weeks

Application due

March 5, 2021 at 5:00pm ET


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


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.


  • Free for Harvard-affiliated institutions
  • CTSA member: $975.00
    (Note: this is a 25% discount off the standard fee.)
  • Non-CTSA member: $1300.00
  • Cancellation and Refund Policy [PDF]
  • Course fees can be modified for participants unable to meet financial requirements due to their geographical location. Email us to inquire about potential eligibility.

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 application process is closed.