Study Design in Etiologic Research

This online course is a core component of any Master's degree in Epidemiology, and is also key to being able to follow specialized courses in epidemiology. It is focused on observational studies for etiologic research. Its aim is for you to learn about the principles and practice of cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies. We will discuss design, data collection and validity issues, as well as the major advantages and disadvantages of the different study designs. The emphasis will be on the application of observational study design in etiologic research.

Prof. dr. ir. Y.T. (Yvonne) van der Schouw
Full Professor Department of Epidemiology
Quick overview
  • 6 weeks - 14 hrs / wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 3 EC
  • Online
  • English
€ 1630,-
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Enrollment closes 07/10/2024 134 days left to apply
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Course description

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

• Explain the principles, design and validity aspects of a cohort study, a case-control study and a cross-sectional study
• Interpret the measures of frequency and association from cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies
• Calculate the corresponding measures of frequency and association, and explain these calculations
• Explain the specials designs used instead of the classical case-control study (e.g. case-cohort study or case-crossover study)
• Explain the methods of data collection in the different study designs
• Explain the specific aspects of study design in veterinary epidemiology as compared to human epidemiology (e.g. clustering of animals and the effects this has on study design, measurement of exposure status, disease status and confounders, and the selection of the study population)
• Appraise scientific abstracts and papers on the choice of study design, and debate the relevant validity aspects
• Design an appropriate study to be used in a specific situation or to answer an etiologic research question

Course topics

• Design of cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies
• Data collection of the above studies
• Validity issues of the above studies
• Advantages and disadvantages of the above studies
• Specific aspects of study designs in veterinary epidemiology

Assessment

This course includes an exam with essay questions. The exams are, by default, online using online proctoring. If you wish to take the exam on-site in Utrecht, the Netherlands, this is possible as well.

Exam edition October 2023
The exam will take place on November 24th, 2023 from 14:15 – 17:15 CET. The re-examination will take place on January 12th, 2024 from 14:15 – 17:15 CET. Note: these times might be subject to change. The exact time and place will be announced as soon as possible in the learning environment and any changes announced there will overrule the information here.

Exam edition March 2024
The exam will take place on April 26th, 2024 from 14:15 – 17:15 CET. The re-examination will take place on June 14th, 2024 from 14:15 – 17:15 CET. Note: these times might be subject to change. The exact time and place will be announced as soon as possible in the learning environment and any changes announced there will overrule the information here.

The exam is not compulsory. However, if you want to receive the Course Certificate and the credits, it is obligatory to take the exam. You are allowed to redo the exam once. For MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate students the exam is compulsory.

It might be that, due to a force majeure situation, you cannot be present during the first exam moment.

• MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate students must then, preferably prior to the first exam option, ask the academic counsellor for permission to be absent. Please note that the academic counsellor can ask for some form of proof of your absence (e.g. in case of illness) to establish if you are applicable for authorized absence. Jaco de Fockert-Koefoed, MSc is the academic counsellor you need to turn to through adviseurs@umcutrecht.nl.

• All other participants should contact the MSc Epidemiology Office instead, through MSc-Epidemiology@umcutrecht.nl.

In short, as of now, it is no longer possible to skip the first exam option and -automatically- enrol in the second (re-sit) exam. Unauthorized absence during the first exam period results in no longer being able to finish the course that college year.

Requirements & material

To enroll in this course, you need:

• A Bachelor’s degree in (bio)medical education or a degree in epidemiology or related subject
• Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing

Recommended study materials:

• ‘Clinical Epidemiology – Principles, Methods and Applications for Clinical Research’ by D.E. Grobbee & A.W. Hoes, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2014, ISBN-13: 978-1449674328.

• ‘Epidemiology – An introduction (Second edition)’ by K.J. Rothman, Oxford University Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-19-975455-7.

If you consider purchasing the books, you might want to get them as soon as possible, as there have been issues with the availability of the books previously.

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