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This subject is a core subject within the Master of Epidemiology and the Master of Science (Epidemiology) and an elective within the Master of Public Health and Master of Environment.
It covers the main experimental and observational study designs used in epidemiological research: These will include randomised controlled trials including the variants of trials, cohort studies, case-control studies including the variants of nested case-control studies, case-cohort studies and case-crossover studies and ecological studies.
Causal diagrams are introduced as a unifying means for identifying confounding and selection bias and interpreting associations. Other topics include: measurement error, effect modification and validity of the findings.
Skills in critically appraising findings from research will build on the base of Epidemiology one. Students will apply their knowledge to designing studies with the aim of investigating topical problems in public health.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students are expected to be able to:
- Design trials and observational studies with due regard to choosing a design to answer a specific research question, minimising bias, achieving adequate sample size and feasibility
- Compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of the above study designs
- Critically appraise reports of trials and observational studies including assessing any residual confounding and the clinical or public health implications of any effect modification
- Use the published guidelines for the reporting of studies to assist with designing and appraising studies
- Assess reliability and validity of study measures and describe strategies to minimise measurement error
- Perform basic sample size calculations
Last updated: 6 December 2019