Evidence Based Practice: Applying Research to Ergonomic Challenges in the Workplace (ERG110)

Instructor: Carisa Harris, PhD, CPE, PT

October 22 – December 21, 2018 (Online)

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This 8-week, asynchronous online course is designed to prepare the student to be a competent consumer of research by applying a thorough critique of various papers and applying conclusions from published research into ergonomic practice.  Students 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.  Students will learn about observational studies (cross-sectional, prospective, retrospective and case-control) and intervention studies (parallel and multi-factorial randomized control trials, cross over 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.  Students will develop a simple study with an objective, aims and testable hypotheses based on a question of interest based on a need at a current or future worksite/place.

Registration Fees:

> Single Course Registration: $1,800

Register here to enroll in ERG 110

Course Packages Also Available. Click here to view available courses.

> 3-Course Package: $5,100

> 6-Course Package: $10,000

If you would like to register for a course package, please email coehce@berkeley.edu for more information.

Get up to $500 off! Click here to learn more about group discounts and our referral program. Scholarships are also available, click here to learn more.

Course Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe the process involved in asking relevant, researchable questions.
  • Understand the difference between independent and dependent variables and be able to identify them in various studies of interest.
  • Understand 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 a critical critique of a study including the subject population, 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 analysis including regression analysis (linear and step-wise), evidence-based medicine statistics (risk ratios, predictive values, number needed to treat), descriptive statistics (chi square, frequencies, proportions), and comparison statistics (ANOVA, comparisons of medians/means).
  • Based on existing evidence and/or workplace experience, create a ergonomic-related research question with specific aims, hypotheses and appropriate study design.
  • Succinctly develop a plan to carry out a simple research study that one might do as part of a project 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.
  • Evaluate the rigor of qualitative research studies.
  • Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of the science of human factors and ergonomics and ethical responsibility in practice, specifically when designing a workplace study

Instructor Information:

Carisa Harris, PhD, CPE, PT

Professor Harris

Carisa Harris, PhD, PT, 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 performs 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.

Course Format & Schedule:

This asynchronous online course engages students with weekly activities posted on the course site.  Each week students will read and/or watch resource materials, participate in online discussion forums and complete individual and paired assignments. There are no required textbooks, but some reference books are recommended and sections of texts are provided and assigned for reading. The information needed to complete the assignments and prepare for the online midterm and final exams will be included in the resource material on the course site. Grades are determined by participation in assignments and discussions and performance on midterm and final exams.

Register here to enroll in ERG 110




This course has been approved for 120 contact hours, and is roughly the equivalent to a 3-semester credit course. Total continuing education credit allotment may very by discipline.


Certified Professional Ergonomists

Certified Professional Ergonomists may be eligible to earn up to 45 contact hours for this course. Visit http://www.bcpe.org/wp-content/uploads/BCPE_CoC_FAQs_April2016.pdf for more information.

Registered Nurses

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 12983, for 45 contact hours.

Registered Environmental Health Specialists

This course has been approved for 45 contact hours, REHS. The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) UC Berkeley is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) Program Continuing Education Accreditation Agency approved by the California Department of Public Health.

Industrial Hygienists

ABIH® Diplomates may be eligible to earn up to 45 contact hours for this course.

Visit http://www.abih.org/ maintain-certification/cm-credit-education-events for more information.

Safety Professionals

Certified Safety Professionals may be eligible to earn up to 120 contact hours for this event. Visit http://www.bcsp.org/Certifications/Recertification for more information.


Frequently Asked Questions