Principles of Study Design in Environmental Epidemiology
Principles of study design in environmental epidemiology
abstract : the principles of study design and related methodologic issues in environmental epidemiology. Emphasis is given to studies aimed at evaluating causal hypotheses regarding exposures to suspected health hazards. Following background sections on the quantitative objectives and methods of population-based research, we present the major types of observational designs used in environmental epidemiology: first, the three basic designs involving the individual as the unit of analysis (i.e., cohort, cross-sectional, and case-control studies) and a brief discussion of genetic studies for assessing gene-environment interactions; second, various ecologic designs involving the group or region as the unit of analysis. Ecologic designs are given special emphasis in this paper because of our lack of resources or inability to accurately measure environmental exposures in large numbers of individuals. The paper concludes with a section highlighting current design issues in environmental epidemiology and several recommendations for future work.
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