Final Research Report

View this project's final research report.

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Peer-Review Summary

The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve descriptions of the conduct of the study or to clarify the connection between results and conclusions. Sometimes, awardees revise their draft reports twice or more to address all of the reviewers’ comments. 

Peer reviewers commented and the researchers made changes or provided responses. Those comments and responses included the following:

  • The reviewers questioned the researchers’ use of a target trial—a hypothetical trial structure used to test causal inference—in testing their CERBOT instrument. The reviewers noted that consensus is lacking about the need for a target trial to establish causal inference in observational data. Moreover, this framework does not fit all causal questions, like those involving safety or less easily manipulated exposures. The researchers added to their justification for using a target trial. They also confirmed that the CERBOT instrument’s design enables it to measure comparative effectiveness and test safety.
  • Reviewers identified several areas where the description of the CERBOT tool itself was difficult to understand. The researchers made extensive revisions based on these comments. They also added examples and a video tutorial to the CERBOT website to help users implement the tool.
  • Reviewers expressed concern that without a well-defined causal question, the tool would not be useful in developing the components of a target trial. The researchers agreed and revised the report to say that a well-defined question would be one for which an investigator could specify a hypothetical research trial.
  • Reviewers asked for clarification of the makeup of the study’s advisory committee which the researchers claimed to include stakeholders and patient representatives. The researchers noted that the committee included clinicians working with patients but acknowledged that it lacked members that represented a patient perspective.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Project Information

Yi Zhang, PhD, MS
Medical Technology and Practice Patterns Institute
Development of a Causal Inference Toolkit for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Key Dates

September 2013
December 2018

Study Registration Information


Has Results
Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 4, 2022