Project #45812 - Epidemiological study

below is the original question: You are an Epidemiologist and were awarded a grant to conduct an epidemiological research study.   


1) Pick one (1), either a  Food-borne Illness or Injury-Related health issue that you would like to study.

2) Choose an appropriate research design: ecological, cross-sectional, case-control, cohort, clinical or community trial, and explain why you would use the study design you chose.

3) State the research question you would like to answer.

4) Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the study design.

 

Below is the paper written that my instructor was not really understand:

One of the goals of research design is to help directing how an investigation is conducted and it also control the methods of data collection, data analysis and interpretation of results. Looking back to my humble background, where I was born and raised, I can give a little account of what I have seen or experience when I was still in Africa. Even till date, typhoid fever remains life threatening illness that kills in thousands (most especially in third world nation). It is caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. Despite the efforts of public health bodies: Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments to control and prevent typhoid, there are about 5, 700 cases annually in the States (CDC, 2013).

 This research study will focus on Salmonella Typhi, one of the most prominent food and water borne diseases that causes public health problems in mostly the African countries and even in the United States. Salmonella typhi can only live in the humans’ gut and is transmitted through an increased poor sanitation services leading the spread to the bacteria into drinking water systems (CDC, 2013).

The most appropriate design to conduct a study on the rates of infection of salmonella typhi is the ecological study. Also measures that represent characteristics of entire population are used to describe disease and to postulate causal associations. With the research being conducted on the infections of salmonella typhi, ecological model would be highly relevant in comparing the responses that particular groups of people living in ecology would show. For example, to assess the level of significance of the type of water that particular people consume and prevalence rates of the disease, the ecological model would be best suited (Newes-Adeyi, Helitzer, Caulfield, & Bronner, 2000, p. 290).

The research question for this study is: what is the level of contribution of the type of the source of water and the prevalence rates of diabetes in a two contrasting ecological conditions? The ecological research design is best suited for use in the monitoring the progress of salmonella typhi. This is because the several advantages that it has over the other research models. Firstly, a large number of research participants can be used and involved in the research. Having a larger number of people for the research study therefore, also gives the spectrum of the variable results. Ecological models of therefore be suited in regard to using it from this research.  One of the most important strengths of ecological design is that it provides crude way of exploring association, and hypothesis testing at the group level is possible. Given the simplicity, ecological studies are cheap and quick to conduct because it generally makes use of secondary data (Gordon, 2014, p. 209).

Inability to link the exposure-disease relationship at the individual level has been the major weakness of this type of study. The use of average exposure levels rather than the actual levels of exposure and inability to control confounding factors can be another significant problem of this type of research design. Ecological fallacy is another major downfall of this research where data presented by the investigator is not analyzed effectively and this can bring about erroneous conclusion. With the high likelihood of committing an error when using this research model, it has been established that the data collected from the ecological model research study shows significant degree of difference from the data produced by the other forms of scientific research tools (Kirch, 1986, p. 53).

 

 

References 

CDC (2013). National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases: Typhoid Fever. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/typhoid_fever/

Kirch, P. V. (1986). Island societies: Archaeological approaches to evolution and transformation. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press.

Newes-Adeyi, G., Helitzer, D. L., Caulfield, L. E., & Bronner, Y. (2000). Theory and practice: applying the ecological model to formative research for a WIC training program in New York State. Health Education Research15(3), 283-291. doi:10.1093/her/15.3.283

Below are the questions that instructor asked after reading the paper:  

Thank you for your personal reflection in your response.  So, if I understand it right, you want to complete an ecological study between two distinct locations with two different drinking water sources.  Is this correct?  And you are looking at Salmonella Typhi infections.  If you perform an ecological study, how do you get the information about the disease?  Do you collect on an individual basis or on a group basis?  Where would you get this information from?

 

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