10/10 - 12/09/2022: Evidence-Based Human Factors and Ergonomics (ERG110)

October 10 - December 9, 2022 (Online)

This course is designed to prepare you to be a competent consumer of research by applying a thorough critique of various papers and applying conclusions from published research into ergonomic practice. You will read various research articles and identify the study objectives, aims, and hypotheses as well as critique the study methods for appropriate study design, generalizability, sources of bias, and threats to validity. You will also learn about observational studies (cross-sectional, prospective, retrospective, and case-control), intervention (parallel and multi-factorial randomized control trials, cross-over studies), reliability and validity studies.  Approaches to statistical analysis for parametric and non-parametric data and interpretation of effect estimates from analyses using ANOVAs, correlation, and logistic/linear regression will be presented. Finally, you will apply your knowledge through developing a simple study/project with an objective, aims and testable hypotheses and methodology based on a question of interest and need at a current or future worksite/place.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this activity, the learner will be able to:

  • Describe the process involved in asking relevant, researchable questions.

  • Evaluate the rigor of qualitative research studies.

  • Recognize the difference between independent and dependent variables and be able to identify them in various types of studies.

  • Explain how subject population in a study extends to the generalizability of results as well as potential sources of bias.

  • Based on the stated objectives, complete critical critiques of studies including the subject population chosen, the study design, independent and dependent variables including measurement methods and timepoints chosen.

  • Identify sources of error and whether they contribute to random or systematic bias.

  • Analyze a statistical plan for appropriateness and evaluate the interpretation of results.

  • Given a study design and statistical analysis plan, select the appropriate statistics (both parametric and non-parametric) to describe the data, compare the data, or make predictions using the data.

  • Interpret the results of statistical analyses including regression analysis, measures of disease and associations (risk ratios, predictive values, number needed to treat), descriptive statistics (chi square, frequencies, proportions), and comparison statistics (ANOVA, comparisons of medians/means).

  • Succinctly develop study methodology to carry out a simple research study that one might do in the workplace, including a review the current literature; a justification of need; study purpose, aims and hypotheses; data collection methods that control for confounding while increasing validity and reliability; resource needs to perform the study.

  • Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of the science of human factors and ergonomics and ethical responsibility in practice, specifically when designing a workplace study.

Photo of Carisa Harris, PhD, CPE

Instructor: Carisa Harris, PhD, CPE

Carisa Harris, PhD, CPE is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, and in the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley.  She is also the Director of the UCSF/UCB Ergonomics Research & Graduate Training Program and the Deputy Director of the Northern California Center of Occupational & Environmental Health (COEH).  She received her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley and teaches a variety of classes including Occupational Biomechanics and Industrial Engineering Human Factors Design.  Dr. Harris and her team perform research in a variety of areas focused on understanding and preventing work related injuries and improving human performance, productivity and health.  Her epidemiological research assesses and adjusts for healthy worker survivor bias in the assessment of physical, personal and work psychosocial factors associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and subsequent work disability. Additionally, her team is developing a variety of exposure assessment devices (wearables) for primary and secondary prevention purposes and performs various intervention studies on occupational tasks with high risk of musculoskeletal injuries. The lab has a history of performing research in the construction, computer, medical, hotel and manufacturing sectors.  From a global health perspective, Dr. Harris collaborates on research assessing the impact of heavy load carrying among women in developing countries (Nepal, Tanzania, Ethiopia) on associated morbidity.