Epidemiology | Online Assignment Help

You will need to submit a draft of your research paper with several components to ensure you are on the right track:

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  • an outline of your research and the intended direction of your argument, (2 page)
  • at least five scholarly resources you have found that contribute to your topic, (1 page)
  • a brief annotated bibliography of two scholarly resources, (1 page)
  • an abstract outlining your topic and your subsequent findings (1 page)

The topic of my discussion is: ” Secular trends” and “cohort effects” in epidemiology   – Use this for the draft research outline.


The following subcategories need to be discussed in the outline as well:

  • What is meant by a clinical trial as a type of experimental epidemiological study design?
    What is meant by a community trial as a type of experimental epidemiological study design? Provide at least one relevant example.
    What is meant by an intervention study as a type of experimental epidemiological study design? Provide at least one relevant example.
    Discuss temporal differences in cohort designs for epidemiologic research. Why is this aspect important to consider?

This research draft should be at least 4 pages, double spaced, with Times New Roman 12 point font, and use appropriate APA style writing. You should be thorough in your research so your professor (or a colleague) could adequately determine your intended research and the direction you are going with your paper.



1. Discuss the different sources of epidemiological data and what each is used for.

The sources and uses of epidemiologic data include:

Hospital/ medical records and registries

Medical records are a documentation of a patient’s medical history during a period in which he or she is handled by a healthcare provider. These records comprise of medical examiner notes, laboratory reports, x-rays, prescriptions, operative procedures, etc. medical records have the benefit of being easily accessible. They are, however, not representative of the target population because not everyone who is diseased seeks health services (Woodward, 2014).

A disease registry is a special database containing information about individuals diagnosed with a defined disease or health event. Disease registries are useful as they allow a quick and more accurate way to estimate disease incidence and prevalence (Gordis, 2008).

Medical records are used to obtain information regarding the causes of illness and death. Medical records can also inform healthcare givers on changes in health patterns within a given community (Woodward, 2014).



A census refers to the ‘periodic count or enumeration of a population, usually done by a government.’ A census can collect data on age, sex, ethnicity, race, housing, etc. Data from a census is useful in providing a description of a population’s size and composition. A census also gives insight on trends that are expected to occur in the future (Breslow, 2002).

A census has the disadvantage of being too expensive to conduct, and it also takes a long time to analyze collected data. Furthermore, a census cannot give specific timing or period of a health-related event because it is done at intervals of many years, e.g. after every 10 or 20 years. Data from a census can be useful in calculating different health indicators such as crude death rate, age-specific mortality rate, sex-specific mortality rate, crude birth rate. A census can also be used in for planning health services, to inform the distribution of health resources and to formulate policies (Breslow, 2002).


Vital statistics

Vital statistics are ‘statistics about events that mark a life.’ Such events may include live birth, fetal death, death, marriage, divorce or any other civil status events about a population as dictated by a country’s laws. A vital statistics system ‘collects information by civil registration or enumeration on the occurrence of a defined vital event and the individuals concerned’ (Breslow, 2002).

Data from vital statistics provide counts of sometimes a specified vital event occurs. Data from vital statistics provide data on death which is useful in studying and monitoring different causes of mortality. Mortality statistics contribute to epidemiological studies and surveys as they can be used to calculate birth and death rates (Gordis, 2008).

This type of data is also useful in investigating issues regarding infant and child health, fertility rates, etc. Vital statistics, furthermore, provides fundamental information for policy and action programs that guide public health (Gordis, 2008).


Health surveys

In certain circumstances, vital statistics or routine health records may not avail sufficient information about a health outcome of interest. Health surveys are therefore used to acquire comprehensive data that is helpful in monitoring the health status of a population (Breslow, 2002). Health survey studies are done on a sample that represents the population. Health surveys can be based on general health status or done specifically for each disease of interest. Surveys may also collect data about indicators of a health-related event such as environmental data (water or food contamination), animal populations (vectors and reservoirs). Surveys can be used to in investigating disease outbreaks and monitor the effectiveness of a remedy, e.g. vaccination program (Gordis, 2008).


2. What is meant by an “experimental” approach in epidemiology?

In the investigation of occurrence and distribution of health and health-related events, epidemiological studies may apply a descriptive or analytical method. Analytical methods help to identify the cause of a disease or the outcome following an exposure. Analytical methods can either be observational or experimental. In observational studies, the researcher carries out the study without changing the occurrence. It simply involves making observations and collecting information without intervention (Woodward, 2014).

An experimental approach in epidemiology contrasts an observational design in that the researcher intervenes or introduces an intervention e.g. a drug, to change the subjects/ animals being observed, and then monitors/observes what happens (the response) (Woodward, 2014).

The experimental approach provides ways for testing the effectiveness of an intervention or therapy. An experimental approach compares the benefits of an intervention (e.g. a treatment, drug, or vaccine) with a standard (an existing treatment, or no treatment). An experimental approach may also show a cause-effect relationship between an exposure an outcome. An experimental approach can include a randomized clinical trial, non-randomized trials and quasi-experimental designs (Woodward, 2014).

Randomized clinical trials are based on the selection of experimental and control groups in which participants are randomly allocated to receive an experimental intervention/ treatment/ vaccine or control. These groups are followed up for a specified period and relevant measurements done to show the outcome in each group. E.g. immunity after vaccination, recovery rates, better health outcomes (Woodward, 2014).


3. Discuss essential sources of epidemiologic data and why each is so important in the practice of epidemiology

Re portable disease statistics

These are a collection of statistics that reveal how often a disease occurs. This type of data is helpful in identifying and studying trends of diseases that are of great importance to public health. This type of data also aids in tracking and controlling future disease outbreaks (Breslow, 2002).


Screening surveys

These are surveys done to identify individuals who have disease from those who do not have in a population. Screening surveys are done at different intervals of time to identify the possible presence of a disease which is yet to be diagnosed in individuals who show no signs or symptoms. Screening surveys aid in early detection of disease, which is key to primary prevention (Woodward, 2014).


Morbidity surveys

These are surveys done to determine the presence of a disease (morbidity). Morbidity surveys provide information on patterns of disease occurrence and can also be a reference to determine a population’s health (Woodward, 2014).



Disease registries

A disease registry is a special database containing information about individuals diagnosed with a defined disease or health event. Disease registries may be hospital-based or population-based. Disease registries are useful as they allow a quick and more accurate way to estimate disease incidence and prevalence. They also help researchers to better characterize and determine the natural history of a disease (Gordis, 2008).

4. Discuss access to sources of epidemiologic data, including shared data and record linkage

Access to epidemiological data is crucial because it defines the owner and determines conditions, permissions and the extent to which such data can be retrieved by different parties. Data generated from research may not only be useful to the investigator but also to other experts who may have different opinions about a topic. Sharing of data thus requires ‘striking a balance between interests of an investigator and the society’ (Gordis, 2008).

Record linkage is the process of finding records that refer to the same individual or subject or occurrence from different sources of data and ‘putting together of these records which might have been recorded on different occasions/events and became parts of data collections’ (Breslow, 2002).

Record linkage is crucial when joining data which may not share a common identifier owing to differences in location of storage, record format or custodian preferences. In access to epidemiologic data, record linkage is important as it identifies missing cases and removes duplicates. This is important when creating health surveillance systems and disease registries using data from different sources. In epidemiological studies that have to follow up periods, e.g. cohorts, longitudinal surveys, clinical trials, record linkage helps in tracking subjects and eliminating duplicates. Record linkage, however, draws concerns on data security because it involves sharing information and granting access to different systems (Woodward, 2014).


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