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Research Methods & Ethics

Developing novel scientific approaches and examining key ethical considerations to improve the quality of serious illness research


We seek—above all—to conduct studies with results that can be trusted. We are constantly developing and testing new research designs and state-of-the-art methods that push the boundaries of what is scientifically possible without ever compromising the rights, safety, and well-being of patients, care partners, or clinicians.

PAIR Center investigators develop new methods across the full spectrum of the clinical research process—from how we enroll participants into clinical trials to statistical methods for analyzing data.

Three ways we address persistent and complex issues in serious illness research:

Dr. Kate Courtright speaking at Roybal Retreat 2021

Recruiting and retaining research participants that reflect the diversity of the American population.

Evaluating whether interventions work when the outcomes we care about—such as quality of life—cannot be fully assessed because patients die or are lost to follow-up.

Using many different analytic strategies in tandem to ensure that our study results maximize learning and impact.

Of course, with new methods come new ethical questions, and the PAIR Center does not shy away from these issues. Rather, we generate evidence to test the assumptions that often underlie ethical concerns and interrogate our findings to ensure that they apply equally across all groups of patients who differ in race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other key factors. We regularly consult ethicists, patient advocates, and patients themselves on our research methods.

Most importantly, we publish and speak internationally about this work, such that it not only informs the conduct and analysis of all PAIR Center studies but improves the conduct of science worldwide.

Take a deeper dive into our research.

Learn more about how the PAIR Center is making a difference.