Practical Statistics For Medical Research

27 - 30 June 2017

Organisers and Tutors

The course is jointly organised by UCL Statistical Science and the UCL Joint Research Office. The main speakers and tutors are: Prof Rumana Omar, Dr Gareth Ambler, Dr Julie Barber and Dr Aidan O'Keeffe (UCL Statistical Science and UCL JRO), Fatima Jichi (UCL JRO), Dr Andrew Copas (UCL and MRC CTU at UCL) and Dr Simon Skene (UCL CCTU).

Dates and times

27 - 30 June 2017.

About the course

Medical statistics plays an essential role in all stages of a quantitative health care research project from design through to analysis and interpretation. This intensive course covers the essential principles and methods required. Emphasis is on study design, appropriate analysis, and interpretation of results. The underlying concepts of statistical analysis as well as basic and some more advanced analysis techniques are covered. Sessions include lectures and practical work, both computer based (using Stata) and using small workshops for discussion. The course has been running for more than 20 years and has earned an international reputation. Lectures are taught by experienced medical statisticians from renowned academic institutions.

Course objectives

The course aims to teach health care researchers the essential elements of research methodology and statistics. The focus is mainly on interpretation and understanding appropriate methodology.

At the end of the course the participants will have gained an understanding of:

  • The various design possibilities for a research project, and the important considerations for observational studies and randomised trials
  • The types of data generated in research studies
  • The most common methods of analysis for categorical and continuous data, including regression methods and survival analysis
  • When particular methods are appropriate and how to interpret their results
  • Reviewing and appraising published research

Who should attend?

The course is relevant to all health care professionals or anyone in the health care field who needs to understand, use or carry out health care research studies. Material covered is of an introductory and intermediate level and provides some references and foundation for more advanced techniques. The course assumes a familiarity with the statistical terms used in the medical literature (e.g. P-values and confidence intervals) but does not assume any deep understanding.

Course content

The course is structured into a number of teaching sessions per day, most consisting of a lecture followed by a practical. Practicals are either computer based for analysis work or workshop style in smaller groups. Discussion is very much encouraged. Participants are provided with an extensive course folder including presentations, practical questions, solutions and recommended reading.

The following topics are covered:

Day 1 Day 2  Day 3 Day 4 
Introduction to Data Analysis Comparing Groups of Continuous Data Confounding and Interactions Analysis of Survival Data
Design of Observational Studies Comparing Groups of Categorical Data Further Regression Topics Analysis of Correlated Data
Design of Randomised Trials Risk, Rates and Odds Logistic Regression Missing Data
Estimation and Hypothesis Testing Correlation and Linear Regression Sample Size Calculations Advanced Issues in Trials
Overview of Study Design      

Comments from previous participants

  • "I was after an overview of statistics so that I could better understand and interpret what it is I read in medical journals and this course was perfect." 
  • "Maintained my interest throughout, engaging speakers, incredibly well designed course." 
  • "I wish I'd been taught this well at medical school!"
  • "I have been taught Statistics many times in my undergraduate and post graduate studies but this is the first time that I have actually managed to understand it and feel confident to apply it! Thank you
  • "I have enjoyed the course even though I don't like Statistics!"
  • "Inspiring and a real treat, good enthusiastic teachers, superlative in all respects"
  • "Practicals very well designed, tutors extremely patient and helpful"
  • "As a surgeon my aim was to get an understanding of which statistics to use for certain studies. I think the course has done this well"
  • "Very improved understanding of overwhelming statistical theory… course very well organised"
  • "This is the best medical statistics course I have attended"
  • "Please think very hard before trying to "improve" this marvellous, no-nonsense, no mumbo-jumbo statistics course!"

Recommended reading

Books recommended as good accompaniments to the course and for background or further reading are:

  • D.G. Altman Practical Statistics for Medical Research Chapman and Hall
  • J.M. Bland An Introduction to Medical Statistics Oxford
  • B.R. Kirkwood and J.A. Sterne Essential Medical Statistics Blackwell


This course is accredited with 21 CPD points from the Royal College of Physicians. Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of attendance.

Course fee

Public sector: early registration £700 (until 26 May 2017), late £800.

Commercial sector: £1000.

This fee is to be paid in full before the course date. The fee includes tea, coffee, lunch and course materials

How to register

Please register via the UCL Store.

Awards for UCLH, UCL and Royal Free researchers

Special offer for UCL Medical School / UCLH & Royal Free Hospital Trust researchers: The course is offered at the reduced rate of £200 for 10 applicants. 

Please contact Katie Osborn ( if you want to apply for one of these awards.


The course will be held in the Department of Statistical, University College London (UCL). This is located at 1-19 Torrington Place, just off Tottenham Court Road.