Your project should describe an epidemiologic study relating to a disease (asthma, diabetes) or an exposure risk (asbestos, power lines) that affects humans. The purpose of this assignment is for you to review the relevant literature on the selected topic and to develop a research study that would address the most important questions. In writing this paper, you should provide a concise review of the literature and describe a research proposal for a study that will yield more conclusive information on the topic than currently is available.
You must submit your proposed term project topic and an outline of your project’s content for review and approval by the conclusion of Module 2. No two students will be allowed to use the same subject, and to prevent duplication, please submit your choice of topic on the Term Project Topic Discussion Board for Module 2.
Your actual term paper will be eight to ten pages in length (not including cover page and references), formatted using APA style. You will submit your project to the Term Project Dropbox no later than Sunday 11:59 PM EST/EDT in Module 7. (This Dropbox basket is linked to Turnitin.
The paper should be organized in the following manner:
Disease study topic: To be chosen by student. It may be any past, present, or future disease topic, exposure risk, related to individual, or population that you feel is justified research. Include review of the literature and the research proposal.
Study hypothesis: Your hypothesis is a working assumption. Typically, a scientist, in this case, epidemiologist, devises a hypothesis and then sees if it “holds water” by testing it against available data (obtained from previous experiments and observations) or experimental data designed in their own study. If the hypothesis does hold water, the scientist declares it to be a theory.
Type of population in your study, i.e., two main types, choose one and describe:
Closed cohort (membership is defined by a given event, and no exit is possible)
Dynamic population (where a given state defines membership, and exit occurs when the state terminates)
The timing of the observations:
Cross-sectional study, i.e., the exposures, health conditions and other factors are recorded at the same point in time using prevalence data without attempting to reconstruct the exposure history.
Longitudinal study, i.e., since diseases occur over time, we normally expect a longitudinal recording of exposures and diseases, in the follow-up study and in the case control study.
Define the relevant etiologic time window:
What is the available knowledge of the conditions under study and what is the hypothesized effect of the exposure? Define the etiologic time window. For example, Sweet and Low cannot be the cause of bladder cancer in patients diagnosed with bladder cancer who have used one or less than one packet per day for the first time only in the last month, and who were diagnosed with bladder cancer within the last month.
Research study base:
Primary study base – means you have defined the source population you wish to study before the case series is identified. The challenge is to be able to obtain complete ascertainment of the cases. To obtain complete ascertainment, e.g., study all cases within the population may be unfeasible because of costs.
Secondary study base – is when the case series is identified first, and the challenge is then to identify the study base that originated that case series (which is, by definition, complete). Once you have the select case series identified, then you can define your research study base for this select case series.
Sampling the study base:
When the study base is sampled according to the exposure status, e.g., exposed versus unexposed, we usually talk about a follow-up study.
If we first identify case and then sample from the study base, the study is defined as a case control.
Describes differences between groups.
Used to analytically test hypothesis.
They are not as beneficial in identifying the cause of disease, but are very useful in evaluating populations and public health planning.
Primary Data – referred to as ad hoc data, or actual collection of data by researcher from a primary source or person.
Secondary Data – referred to as antecedent data, is data collected primarily for other purposes and used in the study, e.g., data from medical files, registration records, and so on.
Descriptive statistics can be defined as those methods involving the collection, presentation, and characterization of a set of data in order to describe the various features of that set of data properly.
Inferential statistics can be defined as those methods that make possible the estimation of characteristics of a population or the making of a decision concerning a population based only on a sample results.
Conclusion: Since you are designing a study and no study has yet been done, you will not have a conclusion. However, what approach would you take to assure any conclusion you make is valid, e.g., what kind of controls do you have in place to ensure your studies validity? What is the benefit of your study to community health?