Introduction to epidemiology

Epidemiology Assignment:

Byrne M, Agerbo E, Bennedsen B, Eaton W, Mortensen P. Obstetric conditions and risk of first admission with schizophrenia: A Danish national register based study. Schizophrenia Research 2007; 97: 51-59.

Critically appraise the above article by answering the following questions. You may use additional source material as you need to.

QUESTION 1:
Describe the evidence presented in the paper you selected. Specifically address the following questions:
– What was the exposure or intervention?
– What was the outcome?
– What was the study design?
– What was the study population?
– What were the main findings?
Limit of 1 page. Please note: Only one page of text will be marked [20 marks]

QUESTION 2:
To what extent can the observed association between the exposure and outcome be attributed to non-causal explanations? This question relates to the internal validity of the study. Consider the following questions in your critique:
– Are the results likely to be affected by selection and/or measurement bias?
– Are the results likely to be affected by confounding?
– Are the results likely to be affected by chance variation?
Limit of 2 pages. Please note: Only 2 pages of text will be marked [30 marks]

QUESTION 3:
Do you think there is evidence of a causal association between the exposure and the outcome? Consider the following questions in your critique:
– Is there a temporal relationship between exposure and outcome?
– Is there a strong relationship between the exposure and the outcome?
– Is there a dose-response relationship between exposure and the outcome?
– Are the results consistent within the study?
Limit of 2 pages. Please note: Only 2 pages of text will be marked [30 marks]

QUESTION 4:
Do the findings accord with other evidence? Specifically:
– Are the findings consistent with other evidence, particularly evidence from studies of similar or more powerful study design?
– Are the results plausible in terms of a biological mechanism?
Limit of 1 page. Please note: Only one page of text will be marked [10 marks]

QUESTION 5:
Are the findings externally valid, that is generalisable? Specifically:
– Can the findings be applied to the source population from which the study population was derived?
– Can the study results be applied to other relevant populations?
Limit of 1 page. Please note: Only one page of text will be marked [10 marks]

Readings that we have used throughout the semester:
Essential epidemiology: an introduction for students and health professionals – Penny Webb, Chris Bain 2011 (electronic resource) – Chapters 6,7, 9, 9 & 10

ASSIGNMENT FORMATTING
As indicated above, there are page limits for each of the questions in this Assignment.

Please note, this does not include a reference list, which can be appended separately to your final document.

Please ensure that your assignment complies with the following formatting specifications. Assignments that do not comply with these specifications will not be marked.

Format: A single Word document file
Page Limits: As indicated for each question (see questions above)
Paper Size: Standard A4 (210 x 297mm)
Margins: All margins at least 2.0cm.
Font: At least 12 point and Times New Roman only
Line spacing: Must be set to single or greater.
Character spacing: Spacing must be set to normal. Scale must be set to 100%.
Web Links: Links to additional information on any website must not be included in your assignment.
Graphics: Graphics (pictures, diagrams etc) may be included in the response if contained within the page limits provided.
Tables: Tabulated information may be included if contained within the page limits provided.
References: Harvard or Vancouver style. Attach references as a separate page at the end of your Assignment. Reference list is not included within page limits

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