Instructor: Eric Green, Ph.D.

Institution: Duke University


This course will introduce you to research designs and methods in global health. Global health is a multi-disciplinary field, so we will consider approaches common to the behavioral and social sciences, public health, and medicine.

Our primary interest will be the study of causal inference. In global health, we are often interested in knowing what treatments, programs, interventions, and policies “work” and why. To answer questions of impact, we often turn to randomized controlled trials, a mainstay of medical research. As such, we will spend time exploring the rationale, process, and limitations of field experiments.

Randomization is not always possible or advisable, however, and researchers must build a causal argument using non-experimental methods. We will review several approaches, consider relevant threats to causal inference, and discuss how to improve non-experimental research designs.

As we build up to this discussion, we will cover research basics, such as asking evidence-based research questions, searching the literature, developing a theory of change, identifying indicators and collecting data, selecting research participants, and testing hypotheses. In the latter part of the course, we will turn to more specialized topics in global health research, such as writing research proposals and manuscripts, economic analyses, and making an impact.


This course is only available to Duke University students, but everyone is welcome to use the resources accessible through this website.