Beginning a Clinical Research Study

Dr. Bruce L. Pihlstrom, DDS, MS

Learn about beginning a clinical research study by identifying a mentor and biostatistician, understanding the basic principles of defining and answering a research question, establishing a testable research hypothesis and choosing an appropriate research design.

1. Learn how to identify and work with a research mentor and a biostatistician

  • Characteristics of a good research learner
  • Characteristics of a good research mentor
  • Establishing an ongoing relationship with a research mentor and statistician

2. Learn the importance and characteristics of a focused research question that forms the basis of a clinical research study.

3. Learn how the research question can be refined using specific steps:

  • P for Problem/person/patient/population
  • I for Intervention or exposure under consideration
  • C for Comparison/Control intervention or exposure
  • O for Outcomes

4. Learn how to state the research question as a hypothesis in terms of the independent and dependent variables that can be can be tested in a clinical research study.

  • Null hypothesis
  • Alternative hypothesis

5. Learn about choosing a research design that is appropriate for the question being asked.

  • Observational study (retrospective/prospective)
  • Clinical trial

Glossary – Definitions of Key Terms