EPI 630: Principles of Epidemiology

Our final project in this course will provide you with the opportunity to explore how well epidemiologic study results are conveyed to the public.  The steps to follow for this project are outlined below.

Step 1: Find a printed article on an epidemiologic study in the popular press such as the New York Times, CNN, etc.  For the purposes of this project, the study must be an observational in nature (e.g., cohort, case-control, etc.), not a randomized controlled trial or animal study.

  • Step 2: Locate the epidemiologic research article that supports the information in the popular press article. Sometimes, the original research article is included as a hyperlink within the news article.  Otherwise, use PubMed or another library database to locate the exact research article that supports the popular press article. Be certain that you locate the correct journal article to match your popular press article, as this is an important step in the project.
  • Step 4: Once you have received my approval on your articles, carefully review your popular press article and the corresponding journal article before responding to any of the questions below. Please type your responses to the following questions; use between 1-2 paragraphs to respond to each question.

Students will be graded on their ability to carefully review and critique the popular press and journal article and provide correct, thorough, and insightful answers to the project questions.

Citation for research article:

  1. As you read the popular press article, what were your impressions? Were the study

methods and results clearly defined?  Were any critical strengths or limitations of the study mentioned?

  1. As you reviewed the research article, did you come away from the study with the same impression as was conveyed in the popular press article? Explain.
  2. What is the exposure in this study? How was it measured? Do you think this is a precise and reasonable way to measure this exposure?
  3. What is the outcome in this study? How was it measured? If you were running this study, how would you choose to measure this outcome for this study?
  4. What study design was used? Explain how participants were selected and how they were followed. Do you feel this is the most effective study design for studying this exposure and outcome or would you propose an alternate design?  Explain.
  5. How might confounding or bias have impacted the study results?
  6. Summarize the major similarities and differences between the popular press article and the journal article. Do you feel the popular press article clearly and correctly conveyed these results? Why or why not?