Study Design, Measures of Effect, and Sources of Bias

Lorene M. Nelson, Caroline M. Tanner, Stephen K. Van Den Eeden and Valerie M. McGuire

in Neuroepidemiology

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195133790
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199863730 | DOI:
Study Design, Measures of Effect, and Sources of Bias

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This chapter addresses the principles of research study design. It provides an in-depth description of commonly used study designs to address research objectives. It presents information about study designs for descriptive epidemiology (i.e., studies of disease incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates) and analytic epidemiology (i.e., randomized trials, prospective cohort studies, retrospective cohort studies, cross-sectional studies, case-control studies). It describes the measures of effect that reflect the associations between health predictors and neurologic outcomes (odds ratios, relative risks). The second part of the chapter describes common study biases that can adversely affect study validity (sampling error, selection bias, confounding) and how to avoid these biases in the design and conduct of clinical and epidemiological studies.

Keywords: incidence rates; prevalence; mortality rates; descriptive epidemiology; analytic epidemiology; randomized trials; cohort studies; cross-sectional studies; case-control studies; study biases

Chapter.  18072 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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