Year Published: 2020

Time to Complete: 43 min

Instructor: Janis Breeze, Renee Brody, Caitlin Farley, Raechel Huebner Jessica Paulus, Svetlana Rojevsky, MS

Learning Level: Skilled

Primary Audience: Research Team

Skills Domain: Scientific Concepts and Research Design, Data Management & Informatics 

Are you Planning on Conducting a Retrospective Chart Review to Answer a Research Question? 

Do you know what type of resources Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) can provide to support you?
Do you know what type of resources Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) can provide to support you?

Research using retrospective medical record review is common, yet many faculty, students, clinicians, and research staff may be unfamiliar with important aspects of these methods. Led by CTSI and Institutional Review Board (IRB) staff, this module covers some of the best practices you should know before conducting retrospective chart review research and the CTSI and IRB resources available to help. Learn how to get started on your own retrospective chart review from staff at the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) center, informatics team, and IRB office. 

This module is designed for anyone whose primary job function may not be in research, but would like an orientation to the study design, statistical analysis, and research conduct issues that are relevant to chart review studies. This module will consist of presentations by content experts and an overview of resources you can access.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course you will be able to:

  • Describe best practices of conducting a retrospective chart review study
  • Learn how to access resources related to developing power calculations, making a statistical plan, and setting up a REDCap database
  • Determine the best way to access EMR data and when to put in a request with CTSI Informatics
  • Identify additional resources the Informatics team can provide
  • Describe the types of IRB review needed for a retrospective chart review study
  • Learn about IRB submission best practices as they relate to a chart review
Content Outline
  • When is a Retrospective Chart Review the Right Design 
  • Things to consider before you start your retrospective chart review from a statistician’s perspective 
  • How do I get my data? 
  • IRB review
  • Summary of Resources 
  • Interpretation and next steps 


  • Lecture Slide Deck (PDF)
  • CTSI service request
  • Exempt Research Submission Requirements
  • Form 7 (For Exempt Studies)
  • Informatics flow chart
  • Additional I LEARN modules on statistical topics

Course Evaluation

  • Post-Course Evaluation
  • Course Completion Verification
 This Course is Free