Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 712 - Clinical Trial Design, Analysis and Management

15 Points

Next offered in 2020*


*Offered in alternative years 


An exploration of the methodological and practical aspects of clinical trial design, analysis and management. Participants will develop skills in designing and conducting randomised controlled trials.


Prerequisite: POPLHLTH 708 or POPLHLTH 709 or equivalent experience

Programme and course advice

Prerequisite: POPLHLTH 708 or POPHLTH 709 or equivalent epidemiology experience/knowledge of clinical epidemiology.

An understanding of basic statistics is required.

This course is one of a number of courses offered in the School of Population Health that have an evidence based focus. It is a required course for the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health in Effective Practice.

This course is offered every second year.

Course aims

Content Outline

Day 1: Introduction to the rationale for clinical trials, overview of elements essential to building a research question and choosing an appropriate design.

Day 2: Issues in outcome selection, sample size calculation and randomisation

Day 3: Issues in planning and conducting a clinical trial, including budgeting, obtaining funding, strategies to address likely difficulties, and data management, and managing missing data

Day 4: Ethics and issues in data analysis, including overview of GCRP, ethics in New Zealand, data monitoring, choices in the conduct of statistical analyses. 


Goals of the Course

  • To provide an overview of the practical aspects of phase III and pragmatic clinical trial design, analysis and management
  • To equip the course participant with some of the essential skills required to design and conduct a research project, and to evaluate research findings
  • To equip the course participant with some of the essential skills required to write grant applications for research funding


Learning Outcomes

Following the course students should be able to:

  • Formulate a research question that includes key patient and health care setting specific components
  • Make suitable choices on design elements that impact on internal & external validity
  • Understand the statistical issues underpinning good quality analyses
  • Develop a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial


This course is 100% internally assessed on the basis of two assignments to be completed by the due dates in the second semester. The assignments are sequential, with each building on the issues addressed and skills acquired in the previous assignment.

Assignment 1 (40%) – Background to a study protocol. This will be an individual assignment providing the background and rationale for a research question of the student’s choosing.

Assignment 2 (60%) – Study protocol for a RCT. This will be an individual assignment involving the completion of a study protocol (including the background and research question from assignment 1).

Learning and Teaching

The course will be held at the School of Population Health in the University of Auckland's Tāmaki Campus, corner of Merton and Morrin Road, Glen Innes. Sessions will generally adopt an interactive lecture format with opportunity for informal discussion and questions, practical exercises, group work, and class presentations. Experts in the design, analysis and conduct of clinical trials will present at all sessions.

Campus Teaching Dates in 2018 

This course is held at Tāmaki Campus. Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.

Learning Resources 

  • Friedman LM, Furberg CD, DeMets DL. Fundamentals of clinical trials. 5th edition. Springer: New York. 2015. The book can be ordered from the University Bookshop (UBS) and Amazon. The e-book can be viewed on-line or downloaded via the Tamaki Library. Older editions (hard copy) are available at the Tāmaki Library.
  • Additional reading recommendations and resources available on CANVAS

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator