Critically evaluate epidemiological methods and designs.

Task Description

This assessment will assess your skills and knowledge of epidemiological principles taught in the unit through the critical analysis of a published health research study. The assessment requires the application of the appropriate principles to assess the trustworthiness (risks of bias) of published research of a public health intervention using a standard critical appraisal tool.

The assessment requires each student working independently to undertake a critical appraisal of an epidemiological study. In partnership with another student you will discuss your critical appraisals of the study, engaging in a discussion of the methods, and gain consensus where there are differences. You will then have the choice of working independently or working with your partner, to prepare a final critical appraisal essay on the template provided using the questions of the prescribed critical appraisal tool.

Learning Outcomes

1. Critically evaluate epidemiological methods and designs.

2. Develop skills in calculation and interpretation of measures of the occurrence of disease and association between exposure and disease.

3. Apply epidemiological concepts and methods to the critical analysis of health problems.

4. Develop knowledge of the nature of causal inference.

Part 1:

Show the structured PICO question of the study

A) Selection Bias

(Q1) Are the individuals selected to participate in the study likely to be representative of the target population?

1. Very likely

2. Somewhat likely

3.Not likely

4. Can’t tell

(Q2) What percentage of selected individuals agreed to participate?

1. 80 – 100% agreement

2. 60 – 79% agreement

3. less than 60% agreement

4. Not applicable

5. Can’t tell

B) Study Design

Indicate the study design

1. Randomized controlled trial

2. Controlled clinical trial

3. Cohort analytic (two group pre + post)

4. Case-control

5. Cohort (one group pre + post (before and after))

6. Interrupted time series

7.Other, please specify:

8. Can’t tell

C) Cofounders

Q1) Were there important differences between groups prior to the intervention?


2. No

3. Can’t tell

The following are examples of confounders:

1. Race

2. Sex

3. Marital status/family

4. Age

5. SES (income or class)

6. Education

7. Health status

8. Pre-intervention score on outcome measure

(Q2) If yes, indicate the percentage of relevant confounders that were controlled (either in the design (e.g. stratification, matching) or analysis)?

1. 80 – 100% (most)

2. 60 – 79% (some)

3. Less than 60% (few or none)

4. Can’t Tell


(Q1) Was (were) the outcome assessor(s) aware of the intervention or exposure status of participants?

1. Yes

2. No

3. Can’t tell

(Q2) Were the study participants aware of the research question?

1. Yes


3. Can’t tell

Part 2:

Discuss now your report with your partner working through each item and the epidemiological principles. Complete the remainder of these questions.

With both reviewers discussing the ratings:

Is there a discrepancy between the two reviewers with respect to the component (A-F) ratings?

No Yes

If yes, indicate the reason for the discrepancy

1. Oversight

2. Differences in interpretation of criteria

3. Differences in interpretation of study

Describe what happened when you exchanged your drafts and the describe  outcome of the discussion (you may describe what you learned during the process):


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