Spring 2022 - HSCI 890 G100

Special Topics in Health Sciences (4)

Health Services Research

Class Number: 6353

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    BLU 11660, Burnaby



Special topics in areas not currently covered within the graduate program offerings.


Course Description:

Health services research (HSR) is a multidisciplinary field that examines how people get access to health care, how much care costs, and what happens to patients as a result of this care. The main goals of HSR are to identify the most effective ways to organize, manage, finance, and deliver high quality care; reduce medical errors; and improve patient safety. This foundational course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts of HSR including the measurement and evaluation of health system performance.

Areas of emphasis related to methodology include: theoretical foundations for the evaluation of health services and systems; measurement; study design; threats to validity; data sources commonly used in HSR; and analytic methods for HSR, including multiple regression analysis.


Learning Objectives: 
At the end of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • Describe key themes underlying Health Services Research;
  • Summarize common research designs used in the study of health systems and programs;
  • Critically appraise the design, analysis, and interpretation of published Health Services Research and be able to identify potential sources of bias;
  • Demonstrate analytical and coding skills for commonly-used data sources and research questions in Health Services Research using SAS statistical software.


  • Problem-Based Learning Activity 35%
  • Empirical Projects using SAS statistical software 45%
  • Participation 20%


This course is an interactive seminar class that is shaped by the students; each class begins with an introduction to the syllabus topics which will facilitate the discussions. Students collaborate with each other in problem-based learning, take turns in guiding small group discussions, carry out research review exercises, deliver group presentations, and provide each other with constructive feedback. As this is a four credit 400-level course with a computer lab component, students must be committed to putting in a significant amount of effort as they prepare for and participate in course activities.

Course materials and grading distribution will be the same for 416 and 890 enrolees; however, additional requirements will be added for the problem-based learning and empirical assignments for masters students. Leadership in participation will also be expected for masters students.



Required Textbooks:
Readings will be made available electronically through the Canvas system.

Readings will be selected from the following texts, as well as articles in the peer-reviewed literature:

  • Angrist JD, Pischke J-S.  Mostly Harmless Econometrics – An Empiricist’s Companion.  Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 2009.  
  • Gordis L.  Epidemiology, 3rd Edition.  Elsevier Inc., Pennsylvania, 2004.  
  • Harrell FE.  Regression Modeling Strategies: With applications to linear models, logistic regression, and survival analysis.  Springer, New York, 2001. 
  • Holford TR.  Multivariate Methods in Epidemiology.  Oxford University Press, New York, 2002.  
  • Rosner BA.  Fundamentals of Biostatistics.  Cengage Learning, New York, 2006.  
  • Rothman KJ, Greenland S, Lash TL.  Modern Epidemiology, 3rd Edition.  Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, New York, 2008.  
  • Shi L.  Health Services Research Methods, 2nd Edition.  Delmar Cengage Learning, New York, 2005.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.