PUB-380: Epidemiological Research Design and Methods.


PUB-380: epidemiological research design and methods course introduce basic epidemiological concepts including methods to study the distribution and determinants of disease. Moreover, students learn fundamental research methods and components of a strong research design and apply qualitative and quantitative methods to describe disease and test hypotheses. Transmission and the clinical progression of disease are evaluated through epidemiological models.

Comprehending how and why illnesses are distributed in populations and what factors are associated with disease relies on a set of epidemiologic methods that can be applied flexibly to many different settings. Therefore, pub-380: epidemiological research design and methods introduce the main concepts in epidemiology and reviews the methodological approaches to measuring diseases in populations and assessing relationships between exposures and diseases.

What is epidemiology?

Epidemiology is a tool for public health action to promote and protect the public’s health based on science, causal reasoning, and a dose of practical common sense. A more comprehensive definition of epidemiology is; epidemiology the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of this study to the control of health problems.

As a public health discipline, epidemiology is implanted with the spirit that epidemiologic information should be used to promote and protect the public’s health. Hence, epidemiology comprises both science and public health practice.

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What is applied epidemiology?

The term applied epidemiology describes the application or practice of epidemiology to address public health issues.

Examples of applied epidemiology.

The following are the examples of applied epidemiology:

  • The monitoring of reports of communicable diseases in the community
  • The study of whether a particular dietary component influences your risk of developing


  • Evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of a cholesterol awareness program
  • Analysis of historical trends and current data to project future public health resource needs

What is descriptive epidemiology?

Descriptive epidemiology emerges from the characterization of the distribution of health-related states or events.

This characterization of events refers to patterns (occurrence of health-related events by time, place, and personal characteristics.

Time characteristics.

Time characteristics include annual occurrence, seasonal occurrence, and daily or even hourly occurrence during an epidemic.

Place characteristics.

Place characteristics include geographic variation, urban-rural differences, and location of worksites or schools.

Personal characteristics.

Personal characteristics include demographic factors such as age, race, sex, marital status, and socioeconomic status.

What is analytic epidemiology?

Analytic epidemiology is an aspect of epidemiology that provides the Why and How of such events. It achieves this by comparing groups with different rates of disease occurrence, and other so-called potential risk factors. Thus, analytic epidemiology searches for causes and other factors that influence the occurrence of health-related events.

What is nutritional epidemiology?

Nutritional epidemiology is the application of epidemiological methods to the study of how diet is related to health and disease in humans at the population level.

Applications of epidemiology.

  1. As a discipline within public health, epidemiology provides data for directing public health action.

For instance, in order for a clinician to treat a patient, a clinician must call upon experience and creativity as well as scientific knowledge. Likewise, an epidemiologist uses the scientific methods of descriptive and analytic epidemiology in “diagnosing” the health of a community. However, the epidemiologist must call upon experience and creativity when planning how to control and prevent disease in the community.

  1. Findings from epidemiological studies can contribute to the development of policies on diet and health, ranging from governmental dietary guidelines to food fortification and banning of substances from food. Thus, nutritional epidemiology is crucial in ensuring public health and safety.

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