Experimental Epidemiology

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This course addresses critical methodological aspects of clinical and field trials and a special effort is made to address trials that will measure the impact of relevant interventions against poverty-related diseases in low-resource settings.


The lectures in the course cover the following:

  • General principles of field trials
  • Literature review: what & how to read
  • Randomisation & blinding
  • Review of basic statistics (Mean, SD, SE, 95%CI)
  • Proportions
  • 2 x 2 tables
  • Trial size for adequate precision and power
  • Cluster design
  • Data management and study implementation
  • Interaction & confounding
  • Effect measures (Risk ratio, rate ratio, difference in means)
  • Relative risk reduction
  • Measurement: Validity & reproducibility
  • Analysis plan, including data exploration, baseline comparison, main effects and analysis of community-based studies
  • Hypothesis tests & precision of effect
  • Analysis of repeated outcomes
  • Data collection (questionnaire design, field organisation, training & standardisation) & quality control
  • Good clinical practice (GCP)
  • Interpretation of negative trials
  • Ethical aspects of clinical trials in low-income countries.


The group work covers a) the analysis of a published trial, b) the development of proposal and protocol, the structure of baseline and main effect tables, randomisation & blinding.


The computer laboratory exercises include generating random numbers, calculating trial size, importing files, data exploration, baseline comparisons, main effects, adjustment for confounding, adjustment for confounding, sub-group analysis and interaction.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student:

  • demonstrates understanding of the principles of clinical and field trials,
  • explains the principles behind adjustment for repeated measurement of outcomes in the same individuals


The student is able to:

  • contribute to the planning and conduct of clinical and field trails in accordance with the EU Directive 2001/20/EC on Good Clinical Practice and the highest ethical principles, including those reflected in Article 6 of the Treaty on the European Union, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Council of Europa's Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine
  • assess and select relevant designs for clinical/field trials,
  • for both individually and community-randomized trials, conduct: sample size estimations, random allocation and blinding/masking
  • analyze clinical and field trial data-sets, also from community-randomized trials
  • identify interaction (in trials with stratified as well as un-stratified randomization)
  • identify and adjust for any confounding effect (mainly relevant for trials with limited sample size).

General competence

The student is able to:

  • critically interpret published results from clinical/field trials
  • write a competitive research grant proposal for funding of a clinical/field trial.

ECTS Credits

5 ECTS credits

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Centre for International Health
Required Previous Knowledge

Proficiency in English at a level corresponding to TOEFL 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based) or IELTS band 6.0 is expected.

A requirement for attending INTH321A/INTH921 is knowledge of basic epidemiology and biostatistics, and the applicants should describe their background in these fields in their applications, which should be accompanied by certificates from biostatistics and epidemiology courses and workshops. We will in INTH321A/INTH921 use Stata® in data analysis exercises, and attending the course MEDSTATA (held as a hybrid face-to-face/online course 2 to 5 January 2024) is a prerequisite for attending INTH321A/INTH921. This requirement may be waived on an individual basis for students who can document competence in statistical analysis using Stata® equivalent to the MEDSTATA course. For such consideration, please contact Linda Forshaw Linda.Forshaw@uib.no.

Access to the Course
Students enrolled in the master programme in Global Health, students enrolled in similar programmes at UiB or other partner universities (e.g. tropEd Network for Education in International Health) 
Teaching and learning methods

Before the course:

Preparation including video-based instructions to the course, enrollment on to learning platform and set up of student introduction/presentation on the platform, download of course literature and statistical software, video-based basic introduction to statistical software and pre-reading of introductory material.


During the course:

Daily sessions. Each day has a mixture of lectures, practical sessions including computer lab sessions, and individual/ group work.

Student investment time: 125 hours

Lectures: 40 hours

Group work and assignments: 40 hours

  Individual work: 45 hour

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Groups of 4-5 students work together on an analysis of a published trial and a research grant proposal for funding of a clinical/field trial. Documented contribution to this group work, which is presented in a plenary session is a prerequisite for taking the course examination.
Forms of Assessment

Mandatory participation in group work prior to exam.

A 4-hour written exam.

If the student fails the exam, he/she can re-sit the exam in the same semester. If the student fails a second time, he/she will be advised to participate in the course one more time in the next year and sit a new exam afterwards

Grading Scale
ECTS credits A-E (F=Fail)
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The reading list will be made available by 1 December on Mitt UiB
Course Evaluation
Students evaluate the teaching according to the quality assessment requirements of the University of Bergen. The evaluation method is through an online electronic form.
Examination Support Material
  • Simple calculator, model is subject to limitations determined by UiB
  • English English dictionary
  • Course Coordinator
    Thorkild Tylleskär
    Course Administrator
    Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care
    The Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care