PUB HLTH 2100 - Investigating Health and Disease in Populations II

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

This course introduces four research designs used in epidemiology to assess the health of populations, to identify possible causes of disease, and to investigate the effectiveness of clinical interventions. Concurrently, the biostatistical concepts that underpin analyses of results from these studies are introduced culminating in application of the chi-square test and the Student's t-test. The computer package Stata will be used to undertake basic manipulation of data and analyses. Threats to reliable interpretation of results from each type of study are considered. By the end of the course students will be equipped to read published epidemiological research, to understand the content of the published abstracts, and to think critically about the strenghts and limitations of different research designs.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 2100
    Course Investigating Health and Disease in Populations II
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites PUB HLTH 1001, PUB HLTH 1002, PUB HLTH 2005
    Assessment Quizzes, assignments and exams
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr David Gonzalez-Chica

    Course Coordinator: David Gonzalez
    Phone: 8313 1631
    Location: Level 11, 178 North Terrace

    Learning and Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8313 2128
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Describe four study designs frequently used in epidemiology;
    2 Explain the rationale for random sampling, describe different types of random sampling, and identify commonly used sampling frames;
    3 Explain how bias and confounding arise and anticipate sources in novel scenarios;
    4 Apply knowledge of study designs to critique aspects of published studies;
    5 Explain the principles and process of hypothesis testing and the role of probability distributions;
    6 Analyse data and interpret results from the four study designs using either the chi-square test or Student's t-test, as appropriate;
    7 Calculate other summary measures appropriate to the study designs and interpret confidence intervals;
    8 Undertake data manipulation and apply basic statistical techniques in the statistical package Stata;
    9 Interpret studies summarised in published abstracts, including the statistical results presented;
    10 Appraise the suitability of each epidemiological study design to address questions that typically arise in public health, present persuasive arguments for the need for biostatistics in analysing and interpreting data, and elicit the strengths and limitations of quantitative research in public health.
    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)
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 4, 9
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3, 9, 10
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 8
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-10
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The textbook for the course is: Katz D, Wild D, Elmore E, Lucan S. Jekel's Epidemiology, biostatistics, preventive medicine, and public health. 4th edn. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2014.

    Additional readings, as required, will be available electronically.
    Recommended Resources
    For a review of public health and epidemiological concepts that are part of assumed knowledge see Katz et al. (2014) Ch 24 - Ch 1 §I, §II - Ch 2 §I, §II - Ch 3 §I.

    For examples of the maths concepts that you need to be prepared to engage with see Katz et al. (2014) pages 112 and 125.
    Online Learning
    We assume that you have access to student e-mail and that your address is the University of Adelaide student’s e-mail address that was assigned to you on enrolment. We will send our messages to your official University of Adelaide student e-mail address and assume that you read your e-mail.

    MyUni is the primary entry point to online learning at the University of Adelaide. MyUni will be used to provide students with access to course materials, announcements, and other features to assist your study.

    For enquiries about online education services, access and other problems, contact the Online Education Helpdesk. Phone: 8313 3000 E-mail:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    In this course there are a number of teaching and learning modes.

    Lectures are intended to introduce concepts and illustrate their use. Tutorials and Computing Practicals provide an interactive forum to apply concepts from lectures and clarify understanding. In the series of computer practicals a statistical package (Stata) will be used to analyse data. A Quiz facilitates understanding of fundamental concepts and allow for identification of areas requiring further study prior to undertaking other assessments. Assignments provide an opportunity for independent application and exploration of key concepts, for wider reading and for synthesis of concepts and literature. The exam provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they have learnt, drawing together concepts and showing that they understand the inter-related nature of epidemiology and biostatistics.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Teaching in Investigating Health and Disease in Populations II begins with the assumption that students are active participants in the learning process, rather than passive recipients of information. We assume that you are willing and able to prepare fully for classes, to participate in discussions and to carry your share of the workload.

    As a general rule, in any university course you will need to allow a minimum of three independent study hours for every hour undertaken in formal class work contact. This means that you will have to set aside at least a further twelve hours per week for reading around topics, preparation for class activities, and work on assignments.

    You are urged to bear this in mind when planning your university timetable, particularly if you are also engaged in paid employment. In our experience, students may not be able to demonstrate their full capacity if they are working full-time and studying full-time.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course will cover the following aspects of epidemiology and biostatistics, in an integrated format.

    uses of survey data in public health practice
    key elements of survey design
    the rationale for random sampling, different forms of sampling, and available sampling frames
    interpreting results of surveys, attending to possible sources of bias or confounding
    other observational study designs: the cohort study and the case-control study
    interpreting results of cohort and case-control studies, attending to possible sources of bias or confounding
    an experimental study design: randomized controlled trials (RCTs)
    interpreting results of randomized controlled trials, attending to possible sources of bias or confounding
    feasibility, strengths and weaknesses of the different study designs

    descriptive statistics and summary measures
    probability and probability distributions
    principles of hypothesis testing
    categorical data and the chi-square test
    continuous data and Student’s t-test
    calculation of relative risks and odds ratios and interpretation of confidence intervals
    basic analysis and interpretation of results of a survey, cohort study, case-control study and RCT
    use of the statistical package Stata to analyse simplified examples of data arising from epidemiological studies 

    Week Lecture Tutorial/Computing Practical
    Week 1 Column cell Tutorial: Sampling
    Week 2 Column cell Tutorial: Developing a questionnaire
    Week 3 Column cell Tutorial: Demonstration of non-response bias and descriptive statistics
    Week 4 Hypothesis testing and categorical data: the chi-square test (part 1) Tutorial: The chi-squre test in action
    Week 5 Hypothesis testing and categorical data: the chi-square test (part 2) Tutorial: DIY hypothesis testing
    Week 6 Interpretation of associations Computing Practical: Introduction to Stata; the chi-squre test in Stata
    Week 7 Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) Tutorial: Sources of bias in RCTs
    Week 8 Hypothesis testing and continuous data: Introducing Student's t-test Quiz (material from weeks 4-7)
    Tutorial: Student's t-test in action
    Week 9 Prevalance estimates and confidence intervals Computing Practical: Student's t-test in Stata
    Week 10 Cohort studies;
    Relative risks and confidence intervals
    Computing Practical: Analysing cohort studies in Stata
    Week 11 Case-control studies;
    Odds rations and confidence intervals
    Computing Practical: Analysing case-control studies in Stata
    Week 12 Causation, hierachies of evidence
    Review of hypothesis testing
    Tutorial: Sample exam questions
    Specific Course Requirements
    In this course we will be performing calculations using formulae, considering probability distributions, consulting statistical tables, writing computer code to perform basic statistical analysis and interpreting computer-generated results. Thus, students need a solid background in maths, usually to year 11 secondary level, in combination with a good grasp of the material covered in Essentials of Epidemiology II. Students with strong mathematical skills (e.g. year 12 secondary level) may have appropriate background for this course without Essentials of Epidemiology II but this should be discussed with the course co-ordinators prior to enrolment.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    It is expected that students complete each assessment task independently with the exception of tutorial and practical preparation and participation which may be collaborative.

    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Tutorial and Practical preparation, attendance and participation Summative 5% 1-10
    Quiz Summative 5% 5, 6, 9
    Written Assignment 1 Summative 20% 2-4
    Written Assignment 2 Summative 20% 4-6
    Exam Summative 50% 1-7, 9-10
    Assessment Related Requirements
    1. Students are expected prepare for tutorials by attempting the tutorial questions before the scheduled
    2. Students are expected to actively participate in tutorial and practicals.
    3. Students must submit both written assignments and sit the exam in order to pass the course.
    Assessment Detail
    Tutorial and Practical preparation, attendance and participation will be scored as follows:
    2 marks will be allocated for attending and actively participating in each tutorial/practical.
    If a student is absent, he/she will receive 0 for that tutorial/practical.
    Attendance only, without preparation and participation, may receive 1 mark for that tutorial/practical.
    A tutorial/practical which is not attended but for which the student submits a medical certificate will not be counted for marking.
    A final score will be scaled to represent 5% of a student’s overall mark.

    There will be a Quiz in week 8 covering material from weeks 4-7 (excluding knowledge of Stata). The questions will be multiple choice and short answers.

    The Quiz will be held in class on the date indicated in the Course Timetable. Alternative quiz times will only be arranged where students cannot attend for medical or genuine compassionate grounds and have documentary supporting evidence (such as a medical certificate).

    There will be two written assignments.
    Assignment 1 will focus on survey design and sampling.
    Assignment 2 will emphasise biostatistical understanding, in the context of epidemiology, and will require students to undertake analyses manually and using a computer package (Stata).

    There will be a 2 hour (closed book) Exam at the end of the course comprising a mix of short answer questions, extended sets of questions around specific scenarios, statistical calculations, and interpreting excerpts from published studies and abstracts.
    Hardcopy assignments must be placed through the slot in the locked box at Reception, Discipline of Public Health, Level 7, 178 North Terrace.
    No assignment will be accepted by e-mail or fax without prior written agreement from a Course Co-ordinator.
    The appropriate cover sheet must be attached to each assignment (available on MyUni).
    Each student submitting an assignment must also sign and date the designated class list (for this specific course and assignment) which will be sited at Reception.
    5Assignments must be submitted by 4 pm on the due date. The locked box will be emptied every day at this time.

    Note: You should retain a copy of the assignment submitted.

    Assignments that are received by the due date will be marked and returned within 2 weeks. Written feedback will be provided on assignments. Re-submission will not normally be considered.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when an assignment for which no extension has been granted is handed in late. The procedure is as follows: All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits; For late assignments, marks will then be deducted from the mark awarded, at the rate of 5 percentage points of the total possible per day.
    The Discipline reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Extension must be requested no later than the last working day before an assignment is due.
    Only a Course Co-ordinator may grant an extension.
    Extensions will only be granted on medical or genuine compassionate grounds. Documentary supporting evidence such as a medical certificate will be required.
    Course Grading

    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

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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