Short Courses

Our Short Courses provide researchers working in a variety of disciplines with a focused opportunity to learn about the variety of research methodologies that can be used to investigate ELSI issues. These courses are open to trainees and researchers in the Columbia University community, and to other researchers upon request.


November 30, 2016 

Data Collection in Transdisciplinary Research:  Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches

Research on complex problems is frequently transdisciplinary, requiring teams of investigators with expertise in diverse area, and development of protocols for data collection in such studies can be challenging.  This is especially true in studies addressing the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genomic medicine, which may require expertise in such fields as psychology, sociology, epidemiology, law, bioethics, philosophy, molecular genetics, and clinical genetics.  This short course will provide an overview of data collection methods for transdisciplinary research, including how to develop instruments for quantitative research and evaluate their psychometric properties, and how to decide when a qualitative approach is needed and the fundamentals of qualitative research.

Course Directors:

Lawrence Yang, PhD

Associate Professor of Sociobehavioral Sciences, College of Global Public Health, New York University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Karolynn Siegel, PhD

Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Director, Center for the Psychosocial Study of Health and Illness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

April 24, 2015
Introduction to ELSI Research on Genetics and Genomics

The acronym “ELSI” (Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications) refers to a broad array of bioethical, psychosocial, and policy issues arising from developments in human genetics and genomics. Research on ELSI is increasingly important with the rapid introduction of precision medicine, and is inherently transdisciplinary, involving teams with expertise in diverse areas (e.g., molecular genetics, clinical genetics, medicine, psychology, sociology, law, bioethics, philosophy, epidemiology). Five percent of the extramural budget of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is set aside for ELSI research, making this a very fundable area. This short course will introduce ELSI research questions and methods and show how ELSI research can be incorporated into ongoing genomics research.

Course Directors

Ruth Ottman, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology (in Neurology and the Sergievsky Center)
Deputy Director, Center for Research on Ethical, Legal & Social
Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics,
Columbia University

Paul S. Appelbaum, MD
Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, & Law
Director, Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry
Director, Center for Research on Ethical, Legal & Social
Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics, Columbia University

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mixed Methods Research: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches 


Both qualitative and quantitative research approaches may be needed to address complex research questions.  For example, qualitative research may be crucial for identifying salient issues for subsequent large-scale quantitative (survey-based) research; and conversely, quantitative studies may expand the scope and generalizability of findings from qualitative research.  This short course will address the methodologies commonly used in these two approaches and how they can be combined to provide a comprehensive approach to the investigation of complex problems.

Course Director

Rachel Torres, EdD, MPH, CHES

Assistant Professor , Borough of Manhattan Community College – City University of New York; Department of Health Education; Founding Member of the Mixed Methods International Research Association