Understanding Medical Research: Your Facebook Friend is Wrong



How can you tell if the bold headlines seen on social media are truly touting the next big thing or if the article isn't worth the paper it's printed on? Understanding Medical Studies, will provide you with the tools and skills you need to critically interpret medical studies, and determine for yourself the difference between good and bad science. The course covers study-design, research methods, and statistical interpretation. It also delves into the dark side of medical research by covering fraud, biases, and common misinterpretations of data. Each lesson will highlight case-studies from real-world journal articles. By the end of this course, you'll have the tools you need to determine the trustworthiness of the scientific information you're reading and, of course, whether or not your Facebook friend is wrong.

Course Takeaways

  • How to efficiently read a medical research paper and how to differentiate between good and bad research
  • The different tests used in medical research and how to spot common errors in methodology and interoperation for each
  • Read and understand statistical figures, charts, and graphics
  • How best to verify claims made in news articles
Available Now


Only available on Coursera and YouTube

7 weeks (15 hours)
Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish, Japanese
No Credential

Meet the Instructors

faculty profile image Dr. Wilson grew up in Connecticut, before attending Harvard College where he graduated with honors in biochemistry. He then attended medical school at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, before completing his internship, residency, and fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, he received a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology, which has informed his research ever since. At Yale since 2014, his goal is using patient-level data and advanced analytics to personalize medicine to each individual patient. He is the creator of the popular online course "Understanding Medical Research: Your Facebook Friend Is Wrong" on the Coursera platform. Full biography

This course was made possible in part by the George M. O'Brien Kidney Center at Yale.