The National Palliative Care Research Center

Curing suffering through palliative care research.


Observational and Quasi-Experimental Research Methods

Description:  Observational studies draw inferences about the effect of a treatment on subjects, where the assignment of subjects into groups is observed rather than manipulated (e.g., through randomization) by the investigator. Quasi-experimental designs are similar to experimental designs in that there is a specific intervention for the “treated” group, but lack the randomization of subjects to treatment and control groups. This workshop will focus on the challenges and limitations of these research designs and the inherent trade-offs between internal and external validity. We will use actual data sets to walk through examples of selection bias and confounding and how they are problematic. We will then devote the majority of this workshop session to demonstrating the methods used to address these issues with a focus on propensity score and instrumental variable analyses.

Link to slides: Observational and Quasi-Experimental Research Methods slides.pdf

Qualitative Research Methods

Description: Qualitative research is a broad methodological approach that encompasses many research methods. This workshop will provide an overview of the theoretical and methodological differences between qualitative research approaches and will explore the applicability of the different methods to various types of palliative care research. The workshop will conclude with an in-depth discussion of a qualitative research study to exemplify how the design, analyses, and study results would differ under the different approaches. At the end of this workshop, the participant will have a more in-depth understanding of the different types of qualitative research methods,the situations in which each type is most appropriate, and a more nuanced perspective with which to design and evaluate rigorous qualitative research.   

Link to slides: Qualitative Research Methods.pdf

Practical Guidance for Cost Analysis of Healthcare Data

There is pressing need for rigorous analyses of healthcare cost data in palliative care research. This workshop will: 1) Discuss the challenges in the analysis of health care cost data; 2) Describe the misuse of statistical methods in analysis of costs in medical literature; and 3) Present new statistical methods for the analysis of healthcare costs.

The workshop focused on arenas of application, approaches to framing cost analyses, approaches to calculating/imputing health care costs, and issues in the statistical analysis of cost data.

Specific goals are to:

·        examine current applications and standard practices in health care cost estimation;
·        discuss core methodological and empirical challenges;
·        evaluate potential advantages and hurdles in developingstandardized cost estimates;
·        identify "best practices" in the measurement,statistical analysis, and application of health care costs; and
·        inform the research agenda on improving data, methods, and the scientific quality and relevance of cost analyses.

Link to slides:  

Practical Guidance for Cost Analysis of Healthcare Data slides 1.pdf

Practical Guidance for Cost Analysis of Healthcare Data slides 2 .pdf