PUB HLTH 7106 - Epidemiological Research Methods
North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016
General Course Information
Course Code PUB HLTH 7106 Course Epidemiological Research Methods Coordinating Unit Public Health Term Semester 2 Level Postgraduate Coursework Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact 1 x 2 hour lectures, 1 x 1 hour tutorial Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N Prerequisites PUB HLTH 7075, PUB HLTH 7075OL or PUB HLTH 7074, PUB HLTH 7074OL Assumed Knowledge Basic epidemiology and biostatistics Restrictions Available to Grad Cert, Grad Dip, MPH and MHEP Course Description This course focuses on conceptual and practical issues in the design, interpretation and appraisal of epidemiological research. There is a particular emphasis on improving causal inference through design and analysis. The course content builds on the introductory courses in both epidemiology and biostatistics. Practical and tutorial sessions will provide hands-on experience with the concepts and techniques discussed in lectures.
Course Coordinator: Professor John Lynch
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
1 Understand, describe and apply the potential outcomes model of causation. 2 Understand and use different epidemiological effect measures 3 Illustrate a causal model using Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAG). 4 Use DAGs to describe confounding, selection and measurement error as sources of bias, and draw a DAG describing their own research question. 5 Describe and apply appropriate methods to control confounding. 6 Interpret results of a multivariable epidemiological analysis. 7 Appraise various study designs for causal inference 8 Understand multiple imputation for missing data 9 Understand the difference between systematic and random error, and the correct interpretation of P values and their use in null hypothesis significance testing 10 Understand evidence hierarchies and processes of evidence triangulation
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1-10 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
5-10 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
1-6 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
1-10 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
1, 6, 7, 10 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
Required ResourcesEach week there will be assigned journal articles to provide background to and complement the lectures and practical/tutorial sessions. You will be expected to have read this material before class. Required readings are available via a reading list on MyUni.
Recommended ResourcesThese texts are NOT required, but we think they would be valuable additions to your professional library.
Szklo M, Nieto FJ. Epidemiology: Beyond the Basics. Jones and Bartlett, Burlington, 2014 (3rd edition).
Rothman K. Epidemiology. An Introduction. Oxford 2002. A short introduction to epidemiology that is consistent with his larger classic textbook Modern Epidemiology 3rd edition.
Saracci R. Epidemiology. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford Uni Press, Oxford, 2010.
Online LearningAll presentations will be available on-line through MyUni after the lecture.
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Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesLectures - Practicals - Tutorials - Small Group Workshops
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.To successfully complete the course students will be required to spend time out of contact hours on reading, class preparation, assignments and study. That time commitment will vary from student to student but in general a full-time student with 24 units per year would normally spend 48 hours per week on their studies during teaching periods.
Learning Activities Summary
Topic Lecture Causation? What is a "cause" epidemiology? Counterfactuals "Potential outcomes" model of causation DAGs Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) Systematic Error Confounding
Effect measure modification Interaction Random error P values Study design rubric GATE framework Study design rubric Study designs Critical Appraisal Individual study designs Systematic reviews Meta analysis Triangulating evidence Integrative epidemiology Review Review
Specific Course RequirementsN/A
Small Group Discovery ExperienceAll tutorials and practicals offer small group experiences to enhance individual and group learning.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed DAG Summative 25% 1-4 Analysis report Summative 25% 1-7 Participation Summative 10% 1-10 Take-home exam Summative 40% 5-10
Assessment Related RequirementsN/A
Assessment DetailAssessment 1 (25%): DAG Draw a DAG and provide and explain your causal model (no more than 500 words). Assesses learning objectives 1-4.
You are required to draw a DAG that describes an epidemiological research question of your choice and provide an explanation of your DAG. The research question must be of relevance to public health. Your DAG should reflect the causal model that would need to be tested to explore your research question. A strict limit of 500 words will be applied to the explanation. The word limit excludes any words used within the DAG illustration.
Assessment 2 (25%): Analysis Report
Interpret provided output and write results section and main conclusion. Assesses learning objectives 1-7.
Some background information about an epidemiological study and table/s of results will be provided to you. Your task is to use this information to write the results section, limitations and concluding sentence of a scientific paper. You will need to draw upon what you have learned about confounding, random error, significance testing and p-values. You are expected to use words to interpret the effect estimate. The results and conclusions should be written in a formal, scientific style.
Assessment 3 (10%): Class participation and engagement in all aspects of the course.
Assesses learning objectives 1-10.
Participation means showing up for each class having completed the assigned readings. In class it means asking questions about anything in the readings, lectures or discussion that seems unclear, offering arguments and responses, and listening to the arguments and responses of others, as well as demonstrating a positive attitude towards learning.
Making contributions to discussion means:
Asking questions about things in the text or things said in class that are unclear or confusing
Offering answers to questions asked by others in class
Making claims or observations about the issues being discussed
Offering support, criticism, modification or clarification for claims being discussed
The sheer number of your contributions does nothing to improve your grade.
Contributions should be relevant and helpful. A genuine question always counts as relevant and helpful.
Assessment 4 Take-home exam (40%): Structured review of a published study with a choice of articles.
Assesses learning objective 5-10.
Your task is to review one of four published articles using the critical analysis skills that you have obtained during the course. The articles will be given in the last lecture. As a guide, you should; locate and use the most appropriate reporting guideline to structure your review, use the concepts from the evidence hierarchy to describe the level of evidence that the paper provides, discuss potential sources of bias that have and have not been addressed in the article, conclude with a statement (your opinion) on the overall quality of evidence that this article provides.
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All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late assignments where no extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted. If an assignment that is 2 days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%. If that same assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.
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Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
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