Introduction to Health Services Research Methods and the Use of Health Administrative Data


HAD5301H – Introduction to Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research OR equivalent
HAD5307H – Introduction to Applied Biostatistics OR equivalent


An introduction to research methods for evaluating the outcomes and effectiveness of health care services using secondary data (with an emphasis on administrative databases). These methodologies are used to answer questions about which treatments, services and policies are effective when applied to whole populations in real practice and policy settings. In this course students will learn not only about the use of secondary data for research purposes, but also how to apply and think about these research findings in the context of the current health care system. This will include the strengths and weaknesses of secondary databases, data accuracy, bias and risk adjustment, study design and a variety of analytical tools. The course will have a strong focus on sources of secondary data available in Ontario.

This course is intended for students using health administrative data (or other secondary data source) as a component of their thesis as the course evaluations focus on methodological components of developing part of each student’s thesis protocol. Auditing the course may be preferred for students who are not using health administrative data (or other secondary data sources) for their research project. Auditing students have access to all course content and lectures but do not participate in weekly tutorial sessions. Tutorial sessions are restricted to students enrolled in the course and provide students with one-on-one assistance from tutorial leaders that focus on students individually developing their research protocol using health administrative data.


  1. To recognize the diversity of research questions, data sources and methodologies that are applied in health services research using secondary data.

  2. To identify key study design & analysis considerations when using secondary data sources for health services research.

  3. To understand the importance of a critical appraisal approach in reviewing and interpreting health services research.

  4. To develop basic skills and knowledge for carrying out health services research with secondary data:

  5. a. develop a research question for a health care issue,

  6. b. assess data validity,

  7. c. select an appropriate study design, and

  8. d. plan appropriate statistical analyses.

  9. To further develop written and oral communication skills for use in planning, reviewing and disseminating health services research.





Introduction to Health Services Research Methods and the Use of Health Administrative Data

  • Date: Time: Wed
  • Dates: Wed Cancelled (Winter reading week)
  • Date: Time: Thu
  • Dates: Thu Cancelled (Winter reading week)