Research Techniques for Clinicians


in partnership with the
Behavioral Medicine Research & Training Foundation

Non-profit Scientific & Educational Organization 91-1948669 operating under Section 501c3 of the US Internal Revenue Code 6576 Blue Mountain Road, Port Angeles, WA 98362

Course Description for:
Psychophysiological Research Techniques
45 Hours of CE Credit / Course Fee $750

Presented by: Richard A. Sherman, Ph.D

Description and Learning Objectives: This course is intended to acquaint you with the basic elements of how read the scientific literature intelligently and how a psychophysiologically oriented clinical research project is conducted from initiating the idea through presenting the results. The scientific method and its application to psychophysiological research and practice is emphasized.Students learn by watching audiovisual lectures provided on the course web site, reading assignments both from materials provided on the web site and a text, and interacting with their instructor via e-mail. They answer short essay questions after each lecture rather than taking exams. Previous students have found that this course takes between 45 and 95 hours of work to perform.

Required Text:
Sherman, R. Clinical Research. The book is on the course web site.

Optional Statistical Software: If you want to practice the statistical techniques you will learn during this course, you will need to have access to any modern, PC based biostatistics program such as SPSS. Student versions of various appropriate software packages are under several hundred dollars. If you don’t have access to a program, I strongly recommend SPSSPC. One of our graduate students just looked into the purchase and found the following: “You can purchase the software at The cost of the graduate pack is usually $199.99. You can get the student version for $85.00, but it expires in one year. The grad pack expires in 4 years and has unlimited variable capacity.”

Format: Home study supported by e-mail chats after each unit is completed. The lecture portion of the course is presented through a series of audiovisual lectures profusely illustrated by power-point slides and movies. The course is accessed from the course web site. The audiovisual lectures are on power point slides. You will hear the instructor’s voice while viewing the power point sides. The lectures are between 1 ½ and 2 ½ hours in length. Reading assignments parallel the lectures. After watching the lecture and reading the assigned supporting files, you will answer a brief series of short essay review questions (which are in the review questions file on the course web site). The answered questions are then e-mailed to the instructor. You and the instructor will discuss each unit via e-mail chat after your answers are assessed. There is no need to complete the discussion with the instructor before proceeding to the succeeding lecture & chapters. It is expected that all review questions will be answered correctly and completely by the student. Any questions answered incorrectly or incompletely must be discussed and/or corrected. You will have at least one real-time meeting with the instructor via a web based program such as “go to meeting” during which you will interact around your new skills.

Accessibility: Hearing impaired people can view the slides only as virtually all of the material presented in the lectures is typed onto the slides. Visually impaired people can concentrate on the verbal lectures as the slide material is repeated in the lecture accompanying each slide.

Accessing course materials: All course materials are available on the course web site. When you purchase the course, you will be given instructions for accessing the course web site immediately.

Computer and Computer Knowledge Requirements: Anybody with a modern computer and a bit of basic understanding of computer operation (at the level of being able to send e-mails) can play this course with minimal problems. You must have a computer (a) capable of connecting to the internet and running a typical internet program, (b) containing/running a modern word processor such as Microsoft word or Word Perfect, (c) the capability to play sounds such as music (has speakers and appropriate software which normally come with any modern computer), and (d) a slide viewing program such as Power Point (you can probably get a slide viewing program free off the internet if you don’t have one). Any modern (e.g., built within the last ten years), IBM style computer running Windows 98 and more recent platforms (e.g., XP or Windows 8) should be able to do this. Speed, hard disk size, and RAM are not factors for computers in the above category.

Dozens of students have used recent Apple products (MACs etc.) for the course however they frequently have more difficulty playing the course materials than PC users do. If you are using a MAC type of computer, you must have a current version of “quicktime”. If you do not have it, you can download it for free from the web.

Faculty: The course is given by Dr. Richard Sherman, Ph.D He is certified by BCIA, approved by BCIA to teach the general biofeedback certification course, and currently teaches A&P, Pelvic floor disorders, pain, and other courses. He is a professional psychophysiologist with extensive training (his Ph.D is in biology & psychology), has nearly 30 years of experience in the field, and has published over 130 books, chapters, and articles (mostly in peer reviewed journals). Dr. Sherman is Director of the psychophysiology doctoral specialization at Saybrook University and has held many positions within the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback including president. Full CV available upon request and on the course web site.

To get CE credit for this course: You will complete five written assignments corresponding to each of the sections of the book. Each assignment should be done shortly after you finish the lectures associated with the corresponding section of the book. Note that there are no single word answers in any of the assignments. Each assignment will take you between two and five single spaced pages to answer adequately. Do not answer questions from the book.

You can expect to write two versions of each assignment as I will return assignments with any problems for correction. When you e-mail me a revision of a draft I critiqued, enter your revised answers on the file I sent you containing my critique so I can look at my comments and your response simultaneously.

Topics we will cover:


  1. Rationale – the crucial need to understand and use clinical research
  2. The scientific method

Section A. The need to know what you are doing

  1. The basic steps and time-line of a project
  2. Defensive reading of clinical literature – does the hypothesis make sense?
  3. Protocol development – formulating and maturing a question
  4. Background and literature searches
  5. Determining feasibility
  6. Research ethics
  7. The research protocol approval process
  8. Pitfalls in the first steps
  9. Section B. Basic study structures for the office and clinic environment

  10. The logic and progression of designs
  11. Exploratory single subject and single group designs
  12. Observational studies – longitudinal & cross-sectional designs
  13. Prospective experimental study designs
  14. Outcome and quality of life studies
  15. The protocol’s research plan and design
  16. Defensive reading of clinical literature – does the design fit the needs?
  17. Pitfalls in study design
  18. Section C. Establishing the credibility of data and clinical publications

  19. Subject selection techniques – sampling, inclusion – exclusion
  20. Hardening subjective data
  21. Validity and reliability – defensive data entry
  22. Survey, test, and questionnaire design
  23. Defensive reading of clinical literature – can you trust the subjects and data?
  24. Pitfalls in data gathering methodology
  25. Section D. Statistics for evaluating literature & interpreting clinical data

  26. Concepts of clinical data analysis
  27. Descriptive statistics for evaluating clinical data
  28. Probability and significance testing
  29. Decision / Risk analysis
  30. Power analysis – determining the optimal number of subjects
  31. Evaluation of overlap between groups through inferential statistics
  32. Evaluation of relationships between changing variables
  33. Dichotomous and proportional data
  34. Outliers – data points that don’t meet expectations
  35. Pattern analysis
  36. Survival / life table analysis
  37. Defensive reading of clinical literature: Handling the data
  38. Pitfalls in study analysis
  39. Section E. Administrative aspects of research (permission to do studies, presentations, etc.)

  40. Getting permission to perform the study
  41. The protocol – incorporating statistics
  42. The grant – extramural funding process
  43. Writing and presenting the study
  44. The publication submission and review process
  45. Changing clinical practice based on what you did and read
  46. Defensive reading of clinical literature – does the conclusion match the raw data, the data analysis, the hypothesis, and the background?
  47. Pitfalls in the overall research process

When all requirements have been successfully completed, your course completion certificate will be e-mailed to you and BCIA will be informed that you completed the course.

Administrative Information

Schedule: You can start the course whenever wish to within six months of the purchase date and work at your own pace as long as you complete the course within one year of purchase.

Duration of course validity: You must begin the course within six months of the purchase date and complete it within one year of the purchase date. Courses not completed by that time are void and must be repurchased if still available. No refunds are provided for courses not completed within one year of purchase.

CE Credit : Saybrook University is regionally accredited and approved by the state of California to grant degrees. These are continuing education, not university accredited, courses. CE credits are given through (1) the state of California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences (Approval # PCE1895); (2) The National Board of Certified Counselors (Provider # 6270), and (3) the Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Foundation maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Saybrook University is regionally accredited and approved to grant degrees by the state of California.

BCIA: This course is accepted by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance for both certification and recertification.

Purchasing courses: Courses can be purchased from Biofeedback International Resources by clicking the Buy Me button for the specific course HERE.

Full refund will be made until the students are given access to the course website.

After getting access to the course website, there is no refund at all, as Saybrook University and the Foundation have committed their resources to you and you have access to all of the course materials.

A course would only be cancelled due to an extreme emergency on the part of the course instructor or the Foundation. In the highly unlikely event a course is cancelled, you would receive a full refund.

Scholarships: Saybrook University and the Foundation give scholarships consisting of 25% off the cost of the course(s) to (a) students and professionals (e.g. clinicians, coaches, teachers) from emerging nations and (b) full time graduate students in developed nations.

Course updates: Updates to all courses are placed on the course web site as they are made. Students are informed when updates are available.