Advanced Topics in Causal Research

This online course will address two important topics in causal epidemiologic research, namely confounding and effect modification. These topics will be discussed in the context of both etiologic research and observational intervention research. Effect modification and confounding are difficult concepts to understand and often mixed up. In this course the theory as well as the practical side of these issues will be discussed.

One particular problem in causal research is that the observed relation between a determinant and an outcome is attributed to that determinant, while in fact the observed relation should be attributed to another variable. This form of bias, often referred to as confounding, is central in this course. Other sources of bias, notably missing data and measurement error are not addressed in detail. 

Epidemiological research often focuses on quantifying the relationship between a treatment, risk factor, or exposure and health outcomes. The treatment, exposure or risk factor is often referred to as the determinant. The motive of a researcher is often to find out whether the observed relation between the determinant and the outcome is causal. This course deals with this type of research.

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Roy de Vries MSc

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