Research Minor: Science in Medicine

Dit vak wordt in het Engels aangeboden. Omschrijvingen kunnen daardoor mogelijk alleen in het Engels worden weergegeven.

Doel vak

Upon completion of this module, students are able to:
1. write a research proposal
2. analyze and interpret their own research data
3. make a proper conclusion based on the results
4. present their research in an appropriate manner
5. critically reflect on the research they performed

Course 1
Students are able to:
1. recognize and describe a research problem based on the literature
2. define a research question based on a real-life problem
3. select and plan the correct research design given the research
4. evaluate the quality of measurement instruments and select the right
instrument(s) given their research question and design of the study
5. recognize common pitfalls in the conduction of scientific research
and explain/show how to deal with these

Course 2
Students are able to:
1. select and utilize the correct statistical methods to analyze the
data based on the research question and design
2. distinguish the differences between prediction and association
3. interpret the results of advanced statistical techniques
4. recognize different missing data mechanisms, are able to comprehend
the consequences of these missing data for research results and are able
to propose solutions for the missing data problem(s)
5. recognize pitfalls in the conduction of statistical analyses and
explain/show how to deal with these pitfalls

Course 3
Students are able to:
1. formulate an answer to a research question based on the results of
statistical analyses
2. present the results of scientific research to peers in an appropriate
3. evaluate the quality of prediction rules and select the prediction
rule that can best be used in daily practice
4. discuss the results of scientific research in light of the literature
and daily practice
5. recognize pitfalls in the interpretation and presentation of results
of scientific research and explain/show how to deal with these pitfalls

Inhoud vak

Among clinicians and medical students, there is a growing awareness that
medical research is the key to good clinical practice. Importance lies
not only the accumulation of knowledge but also in the practical
experiences involved in the research process. In response to this
growing awareness, the research minor “Science in Medicine” has been
developed. During this module, students learn and discuss the
theoretical background of medical research, which also includes the
pitfalls and limitations of science in medicine. Besides theory,
students also perform a study in one of the research institutes of the
VUmc. The end product of this study can be used for the Bachelor’s

Science in medicine: the set-up (Course 1)
In the first week of the first course, students learn how to set-up
different types of studies. This includes how to write a research
proposal and what pitfalls you may encounter when performing a cohort-,
case-control study or randomized controlled trial (RCT).
In the second week, the focus shifts more specifically to performing
research with patients and the issues surrounding conducting patient
related studies: medical ethics committees, which inclusion and
exclusion criteria are necessary for the study, ethical issues
concerning patient data, as well as how to perform research in
vulnerable groups such as children, disabled, prisoners or patients with
dementia. Also covered is how to calculate a sample size, how to select
measurement instruments, how to validate them and apply them in your
The third week focuses in-depth on pharmaceutical studies; how to judge
the quality of published articles, and how to calculate a budget for a
study. The second part of this week pays specific attention to
performing systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
In the last week, an overview of the course will be given, with
opportunities for students to ask questions in preparation for the CAT.
In addition to teaching and practical hours, students work on their
research projects for 2.5 days at the department where the research
takes place.

Science in medicine: the analysis (Course 2)
The second course of the research minor concentrates on the statistical
analysis of research data. First, we build on the knowledge gained in
MWO2. Students are also shown how to analyze data from a randomized
controlled trial, primarily how to deal with the problem of regression
to the mean, how to deal with data from repeated measurements and how to
deal with missing data. The final lecture details statistical pitfalls
and how to deal with them. In the practical sessions, students learn to
analyze their data within SPSS and work on their own research projects.

Science in medicine: the interpretation (Course 3)
In the third course, the interpretation of statistical results is the
main topic. This course can be seen as a follow-on from of both previous
courses within the “Science in Medicine” minor. Topics that will be
discussed are, for example, the differences between statistical
significance and clinical relevance. The question is asked: "Are all
statistical results also clinically relevant?" Furthermore, students are
shown how to build a prediction model in different ways based on
empirical data. Besides that, differences between regression models that
assess confounding or mediation and prediction or associations will be
discussed. Although some statistical models may look the same because
both can contain the same variables, their aims regarding research
question and interpretation of results differ as well as their
methodological approach. This course also examines the interpretation of
models that include interaction terms among different type of variables,
such as continuous and categorical variables, unadjusted and adjusted
for other variables. This will be done for linear, logistic and Cox
regression models but also for more advanced longitudinal or multilevel
models. The translation of research findings into clinical practice–for
example, the applicability of prediction models in daily practice– and
good and bad examples of published studies in terms of interpretation of
study findings will also be discussed. In the practical sessions,
students learn to analyze their data within SPSS and work on their own
research projects.


Lectures, practicals, working groups


Course 1
• Exam with open end questions
• Research proposal
First there will be an open book, open question exam. Secondly, you will
have to hand in your research proposal which has to be evaluated as

Course 2
• Exam with open ended questions
• SPSS exam
There will be an open book, open question exam and a SPSS computer test.
Both count for 50% of the final mark and compensation is not possible,
which means that both exams must be marked with 6 or higher.

Course 3
• Exam with open ended questions
• Presentation in a symposium
There will be an open book, open question exam which will count for 80%
of the final mark. Secondly, you will present your research in a
symposium. The presentation will count for 20% of the final mark.
Compensation is not possible, which means that both exams must be marked
with a 6 or higher.


An overview of the study material is placed on CANVAS.


Bachelor’s students of VUmc School of Medical Sciences and external (and
international) students with a (bio)medical background.

Afwijkende intekenprocedure

Before the start of the semester, students will be invited to select their preferred minor track. However, the Institute of Education and Training (IET) will make a final selection based on both student preferences and availability in the different tracks. Once you have been selected for a track, the IET will make sure you’re registered for all educational activities such as study groups, courses, and exams. Important: Please be aware that in the case that you do not pass an exam, you will NOT be automatically registered for a re-examination, and will need to do this yourself. In order to sign up to resit an examination, you will need to apply no later than 2 weeks before the re-examination through the form “Re-take Exam Bachelor of Medicine.”

Toelichting Canvas

This course is supported by a corresponding CANVAS course, which
contains all of the required information of this course including an
overview of the required articles and assignments. The CANVAS course
will also be used to post announcements relevant to the course. You will
automatically have access to the CANVAS course.

Aanbevolen voorkennis

MWO 2 (2nd year BA course)

Algemene informatie

Vakcode M_BRMSM16
Studiepunten 18 EC
Periode Semester 1
Vakniveau 300
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit VUmc
Vakcoördinator prof. dr. J.W.R. Twisk
Examinator prof. dr. J.W.R. Twisk

Praktische informatie

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Werkvormen Hoorcollege, Studiegroep, Practicum