Epidemiology: An Introduction

Epidemiology: An Introduction

Epidemiology: An Introduction

Epidemiology: An Introduction

Synopsis

This accessible and clearly-structured book offers a comprehensive insight into the methods and principles of epidemiological study alongside an analysis of the broad context in which epidemiological work is undertaken. Chapters on sources of epidemiological data, on epidemiological study designs and on basic statistical measures for epidemiological studies are used to introduce the reader to the traditional underpinnings of epidemiological work. Attention then shifts to a wider canvas. Consideration is given to the critical reading of epidemiological research both as a way of demonstrating how different aspects of epidemiological study come together in published work and as the basis for a discussion of the centrality of epidemiological research in the development of evidence-based health care. The key facets of evidence-based health care are assessed. A more discursive and critical assessment of epidemiology is also presented in which attention is drawn to the need to develop alternative epidemiologies which draw on lay knowledge and recognise the socio-political context of factors influencing health status. The book concludes with a description of the everyday practice of epidemiology in a UK health authority context.

Excerpt

The health of populations is a major concern. Health Improvement Programmes and Health Action Zones are major initiatives to improve the health of the population. Epidemiology is a major tool for understanding the incidence and spread of disease in the population and therefore provides essential information for programmes such as these. Epidemiological research findings enable the development of policies and strategies to deal with the causes of diseases in the population. Research has, for example, established not only the links between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, and certain fats and heart disease but also the social class differentials in the incidence of these diseases.

An understanding of epidemiology and a knowledge of research findings is essential to underpin evidenced-based nursing practice. Nurses need to understand the incidence and spread of disease at population level and the causes in order to provide advice to patients and play their role in health promotion. This book will enable nurses to understand epidemiology, become aware of the major findings from epidemiological research and critically evaluate research papers. It will also provide a basic guide to those who wish to engage in epidemiological research. It complements the research methods text and reader in the series and the material on health inequalities in the social policy text.

Professor Pamela Abbott . . .

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