Discussion – Epidemiologic Designs
As introduced in the first few weeks of this course, investigators use various epidemiological study designs to study health problems and the effects of health interventions. You have examined several study designs, including descriptive designs (in Week 2) and analytic study designs that are observational (in Week 3) or experimental (this week). As a DNP student, you should be able to determine which study design would be most suitable for addressing a health problem of interest to you, as this is a foundation for evidence-based practice.
For this Discussion, you will consider which epidemiologic study design (i.e., descriptive, ecologic, cross-sectional, case-control, cohort, or experimental) is most appropriate for investigating the population health problem you selected for Assignment 1. In addition, you will consider which epidemiologic data sources you would use to examine your health problem.
- Reflect on the population health problem you identified in Assignment 1, which you will use for Major Assessment 7, and your early review of the literature.
- Identify a question for your study; this will help you select an appropriate design.
- Consider which epidemiologic study design (i.e., descriptive, ecologic, cross-sectional, case-control, cohort, or experimental) is most appropriate for addressing your selected health problem based upon the assumptions and basic tenets of each design.
- Determine which epidemiological design(s) would not be appropriate for your study and why.
- Also, explore the various health data resources that were presented in Chapter 5 of the course text, Epidemiology for Public Health Practice. Consider which data resources you could use for your study, assessing the strengths and limitations of those resources.
- Post a cohesive scholarly response that addresses the following:
1) Briefly summarize the population health problem you selected for Major Assessment 7, and state the study question you want to answer.
2) Explain which epidemiologic study design is most appropriate for your study, as well as the assumptions and tenets that support its application.
3) Analyze the strengths and the limitations of the potential data sources you might use for your study.
- Required Readings
Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2014). Epidemiology for public health practice (5th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Chapter 8, “Experimental Study Designs”
This chapter examines experimental and quasi-experimental study designs.
Johnson, T. S. (2010). A brief review of pharmacotherapeutic treatment options in smoking cessation: Bupropion versus varenicline. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 22(10), 557–563.
The authors of this article explored treatment options for smoking cessation by examining the research literature, including looking at the results of randomized control trials. This article provides an example of how such a literature review can influence practice demonstrate the use and benefits of randomized control trial study designs.
Milligan, K., Niccols, A., Sword, W., Thabane, L., Henderson, J., Smith, A., & Liu, J. (2010). Maternal substance use and integrated treatment programs for women with substance abuse issues and their children: A meta-analysis. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention & Policy, 5, 21–34.
This article examines programs that integrate substance abuse treatment and pregnancy, parenting, or child services. The authors conclude that there is a need for funding of high-quality randomized control trial and improved reporting practices. This article also demonstrates the application of analytic research designs to explore a population health problem.
Talaat, M., Afifi, S., Dueger, E., El-Ashry, N., Marfin, A., Kandeel, A., Mohareb, E., & El-Sayed, N. (2011). Effects of hand hygiene campaigns on incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza and absenteeism in schoolchildren, Cairo, Egypt. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 17(4), 619–625.
This research study used a randomized control trial to examine the association between hand washing and reducing influenza. As you review this article, notice how they structured the research study and how they measured the association between hand washing and absenteeism.
Physicians’ Health Study (2010). Retrieved from http://phs.bwh.harvard.edu
This large-scale, randomized clinical trial that began in 1982 was designed to test the effectiveness of aspirin and beta carotene in preventing heart attacks (myocardial infarctions, or MIs) in male physicians aged 40–84. The first phase of the trial, which included more than 22,000 study subjects, demonstrated that low-dose aspirin does, in fact, reduce the risk of a first MI by 44%. This article provides a good example of the types of large-scale studies conducted using epidemiologic principles that lead to improved population health.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2012). Epidemiology and population health: Experimental studies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 5 minutes.
In this program, the presenters discuss experimental studies, including the effect of randomization and blinding on study results.
Groopman, J. (2006, December 18) Medical dispatch—The right to a trial: Should dying patients have access to experimental drugs? New Yorker, 82(42), 40–47.
Dorak, M. T. (2006). Epidemiologic study designs [PowerPoint presentation]. Retrieved from http://www.dorak.info/epi/design.ppt
Ibrahim, M., Alexander, L., Shy, C., & Farr, S. (2000). Randomized trials. ERIC Notebook, 10, 1–4. Retrieved from
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