Subject Code and Title PUBH6005: Epidemiology
Assessment Assessment 2: Study design, sampling and population risk
Length 1500 words
Learning Outcomes This assessment addresses the following learning outcomes:
2. Recognise the role of exposure to biological, behavioural, social and environmental risks in disease patterns.
3. Differentiate between different types of research designs, including observation and experimental and mixed methods designs
4. Assess levels of evidence and make recommendations
5. Interpret data arising from surveillance and research studies, including rates and ratios
6. Understand the difference between association and causation, statistical and public health significance
7. Analyse the role of epidemiology in screening and prevention programs, and assess the sensitivity and specificity of programs
8. Critically evaluate epidemiological studies, including potential for bias, confounding and chance errors
9. Identify key health indicators and sources of data
Submission Due Sunday following the end of Module 3 (week 6) at 11:55pm AEST/AEDT*
Total Marks 100 marks
*Please Note: This time is Sydney time (AEST or AEDT). Please convert to your own time zone (eg. Adelaide = 11:25pm).
This assessment has two parts. PART 1 involves reading three research articles, and applying what you have learned about epidemiological measures and study design to answer a series of short answer questions. PART 2 requires you to consider several health issues and decide the most appropriate study design for investigating that health issue.
The Whitehall study is a ground-breaking longitudinal (prospective cohort) study that clearly demonstrated the association between social determinants of health (the social gradient) and morbidity and mortality (cardiovascular disease) in a population of British civil servants (Breeze et al., 2001; Chandola et al., 2008; Marmot et al., 1978).
Read these papers and answer the following questions.
1. What is the sampling frame for each phase of the Whitehall study (Whitehall I and II)? (5 marks)
2. How was disease risk assessed (both in data collection and analysis) in each of the three studies and why? (15 marks)
3. To what extent can the results of each of the three studies be generalised to other populations (include reasons for your answer)? (10 marks)
4. Would it be feasible to conduct a similar study in Australia using an existing cohort such as the 45 and up study cohort or the Australian Women’s longitudinal study cohort? Why or why not? (20 marks)
For each of the following scenarios identify the best study design to explore each health issue and explain your reason for choosing this study design. Include an explanation of advantages and disadvantages of using the selected study design and include any ethical considerations. Support your reasons with justification and referenced examples of research studies.
1. Causal relationship between lung cancer and smoking (10 marks)
2. Association between depression and binge eating in a population of obese adolescents and adults (10 marks)
3. Long term effects of detention on the mental and physical health of asylum seekers (10 marks)
4. Relationship between folate supplementation during pregnancy and development of autism in offspring (10 marks)
5. Testing of a drug for use in elderly people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (10 marks)
• Knowledge and understanding of the appropriate use of epidemiological study designs
• Analysis and application with synthesis of new knowledge to the strengths and weaknesses of different epidemiological study designs
• Analysis and application with synthesis of new knowledge of study design characteristics to select the most appropriate to the study question
• General assessment criteria:
o Shows a sophisticated understanding of the key issues
o Shows ability to interpret relevant information and literature in relation to chosen topic o Demonstrates a capacity to explain and apply relevant concepts o Shows evidence of reading beyond the required readings
o Justifies any conclusions reached with well-formed arguments and not merely assertions o Correctly uses academic writing, presentation and grammar:
• Complies with academic standards of legibility, referencing and bibliographical details (including reference list)
• Writes clearly, with accurate spelling and grammar as well as proper sentence and paragraph construction
• Uses appropriate APA style for citing and referencing research