SORT IT: Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative Video OR course

SORT IT: Structured Operational Research and Training IniTiative Video OR course

Welcome to the Structured Operational Research and Training IniTiative’s three modular course video resources. Our goal in offering these resources, consisting of 48 videos, is to disseminate the SORT IT model online, so that individuals and institutions interested in building their operational research capacity may use and adopt these materials for improving health policies, practices and outcomes.

These training materials cover the three modules of the SORT IT course through short video lectures and they address interrelated but diverse subjects, such as:

  • What, why and how of operational research
  • Developing an operational research protocol
  • Using EpiData for data collection and analysis
  • Using Mendeley, a free software for citing references
  • Principles of writing a scientific paper and getting past the editor
  • From research to policy and practice 
Go to the video series.


Outline of contents:

Module 1: Operational Research and Protocol Development (19 videos)

In this module, you gain a thorough understanding of what is operational research, develop a proposed research protocol and complete an ethics application form.

View the individual sessions by clicking the links below.

  1. The SORT IT model for sustainable operational research (OR)
  2. Operational research: what, why and how?
  3. Translating operational research into policy and practice
  4. Research principles: determinants and outcomes
  5. Operational research on TB and HIV care in Malawi
  6. Example of operational research project with a critique of the strengths and limitations: Recurrent tuberculosis
  7. Research terminology and definitions: study design, population, sampling and variables
  8. The research question: Treatment outcomes in new TB patients
  9. The data collection tool
  10. Presentation of data and sample size calculations on Open Epi
  11. How to do a literature search using PUBMED – an overview
  12. How to organize and cite references for the protocol
  13. Demonstration of the use of a reference management tool
  14. Demonstration of a final participant protocol from the Asian course
  15. Example of operational research: Loss to follow up is associated with payment for ART in Mbgathi Hospital, Kenya
  16. The role of investigators and authors
  17. Ethics considerations of research protocols
  18. How to complete The Union Ethics Advisory Group (EAG) form
  19. How to complete the MSF Exemption Form

Module 2: Quality-assured Data entry and analysis (19 videos)

The purpose of this module is to ensure that participants understand the importance of good data quality, have the skills to produce an efficient electronic data entry form, based on principles adaptable to their specific needs and understand about data analysis. The EpiData software used in this module can be obtained from and video 2 covers the details of installing the software and other preparatory steps.

  1. Overview of topics covered in Module 2
  2. Demonstration of how to install EpiData software and other preparatory steps
  3. EpiData Entry: Overview of the software
  4. EpiData Entry: What is a data documentation sheet and how to create it?
  5. EpiData Entry: How to create a QES-REC-CHK triplet?
  6. EpiData Entry: Learning CHK commands unrelated to a specific field, creating derived fields and concept of temporary variables
  7. EpiData Entry: Double Data Entry and Validation
  8. EpiData Entry: How to use an external file for creating a label block and use it in EpiData?
  9. EpiData Entry: How to capture data entry time?
  10. EpiData Entry: Exporting Data to other Analysis Software
  11. EpiData Entry: Data Safety and Security
  12. Introduction to data analysis
  13. Introduction to basic statistics
  14. EpiData Analysis: An overview of the software
  15. EpiData Analysis: Summary statistics (calculating mean, median, standard deviation, interquartile range, percentiles, frequencies, proportions, 95% confidence intervals around mean and proportion)
  16. EpiData Analysis: How to prepare the data for analysis (defining new variables, recoding of variables)
  17. EpiData Analysis: Inferential statistics (calculating measures of effect, such asodds ratio, relative risk, statistical tests of significance, stratified analysis)
  18. EpiData Analysis: How to create graphs
  19. EpiData Analysis: Importing data from Excel

Module 3: Operational research and scientific paper writing – Timetable

The purpose of this module is to help participants perform a final analysis, interpret the results of their studies and turn these into a scientific paper for submission to a national or international peer review journal for publication. How to deal with on-line submission and editors’ and reviewers’ comments will also be covered. The lectures remove some of the myths surrounding scientific writing and explain the process of submission, peer review and publication.

  1. Publishing without perishing
  2. Refreshing data analysis
  3. Paper narrative: introduction, methods, results, discussion
  4. Tables and figures
  5. Bits and pieces: abstract, title, funding, authorship
  6. Bits and pieces: example
  7. Submission of the paper and peer review
  8. Dealing with peer review: example 1
  9. Dealing with peer review: example 2
  10. Communication after publication