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Methods and Meta-Research at the Institute of Public Health

The development and use of cutting-edge methods in medical and population health research is a research priority at the Institute of Public Health. Members of the Institute of Public Health engage in teaching, collaboration, consulting, and hands-on mentoring activities to dissemitate these methods both at the Charité and externally.

Method Team: CONVERGE (Causal methOds and NeuroVascular Epidemiology).

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Why methods matter

Studying health on a population level is complex. No study is perfect. The methods we now regularly use in our research are constantly being refined and new methods are simultaneously being developed and implemented. For a given research question, some methods may be well-suited while others have many limitations. In many cases, the use of an incorrect methodological approach can lead to incorrect conclusion. For this reason, we value and promote transparency in the reporting of methods and are actively involved in new methods development and rigorous methods training for students and researchers of all levels.

Regular collaboration with other research disciplines is important, as cutting-edge methodology is often developed in one field and then transposed into other research domains.

Through several meta-research or ‘research on research’ projects, we take a critical look at methods, quality of reporting, as well as interpretation and impact of published scientific work in public health, epidemiology and related disciplines. Much of this work seeks to uncover problematic research practices that have found their way into mainstream research. Since research in public health ultimately informs guidelines and policy, drawing reasonable conclusions based on a fair interpretation of study findings, is a critical aspect. We strive to promote principles of good scientific practice in our daily research activities, collaboration and teaching.

Linking modern concepts in research with teaching

Our team is greatly involved in modernizing the teaching of methods to students of Health Data Sciences, Epidemiology and Public Health both at the Charité and internationally. We contribute to:

  • Teaching in the Masters' programs of the Berlin School of Public Health
  • Teaching in the Health Data Sciences PhD Program
  • Teaching support for the Intensive Short Courses
  • Mentoring project CONNECT and CONNECT global
  • Organization and implementation of the Berlin Epidemiological Methods Colloquium (BEMC)
    The aim of the project is to train early career researchers to better understand the scientific peer review process and in turn, make them better authors and future peer reviewers. This project is currently in the pilot phase in collaboration with the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and the Health Data Sciences PhD Program at the Charité.
  • Development of modules tailored to the needs of medical doctoral students conducting research projects ( or MD-PhD).