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Scientific Overviews In Epidemiology

Course Number
5400 (Epidemiology)
Course Instructor(s)
Margie Parthimos

Course Description

This course introduces principles of formulating epidemiological, clinical or public health questions, systematically searching for evidence, and applying it to the question, analyzing and interpreting the results. Also addressed is the role of evidence in informing public health policy, the application of critical appraisal tools, and the role of bias (including that in studies designs, publication bias, and meta-bias). Particular consideration is given to the meta-analytic methodology of synthesizing evidence in a systematic review.

Interspersed throughout the course are lectures from experts who work in the field. They have been invited to either teach a core learning objective, or share their experience getting involved with systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and the direction they see the field heading.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Identify and systematically access the major sources of evidence available to answer epidemiology and public health-related questions by:
    • Using a conceptual model to transform a topic area into a searchable research question
    • Searching the published literature for peer reviewed literature using a well-justified and reproducible search strategy
    • Searching the grey literature for information
  1. Discuss the following concepts of evidence as applied to epidemiologic and public health research:
    • Types of evidence used to inform policy
    • Advantages and disadvantages of different critical appraisal tools and frameworks
    • Dealing with conflicting and/or weak evidence, and evidence from a range of research designs
  1. Critically appraise a scientific paper (including single studies and reviews) by:
    • Selecting and applying an appropriate critical appraisal framework/tool
    • Recognizing possible sources of bias in single studies and review papers
  1. Describe and interpret basic statistics in a meta-analysis
  2. Gain experience applying the steps involved in a systematic review, culminating in writing a short scientific review paper

General Requirements

  • Introductory Epidemiology (CHL5401H)

Pre/Co-Requisite Courses