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I'm looking for a good reference book in epidemiology. I have Rothman's Epidemiology: An introduction and Porta's A Dictionary of Epidemiology. Rothman's was a big dissapointment as it is very simplistic and lacks anything that is beyond obvious after basic studies. I've heard that his Modern Epidemiology is good but I'm slightly hesitant in buying it since I'm so disappointed with the introductory book. I've found Porta's to be very nice but it's a dictionary and I'm more interested in a text-book.

I would be grateful for any suggestions.

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I'm reluctant to convert this question to CW because it looks like you already did some consulting and are asking for thorough comments and advices (like one of the reply you got already) that might lead to an acceptable answer. –  chl Jan 22 '12 at 10:28

1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The introductory book by Ken Rothman (which will affectionately be known as "Baby Rothman" from here on out) is not a representation of the quality of Modern Epidemiology by Rothman, Greenland and Lash (ME3).

Baby Rothman is meant to be a very basic introductory book, of the kind suited to a class non-Epidemiologists are taking for distribution requirements, or as a first step to someone who hasn't encountered much Epidemiology before.

ME3 on the other hand is essentially the definitive reference book for most epidemiological methods. It is the only Epidemiology textbook I've had that has always come with me, regardless of the project I'm doing, and it's proved invaluable. There's more than a few questions I've answered here with citations from it.

Beyond ME3, a few of the books I use regularly:

Survival Analysis Using SAS: A Practical Guide by Paul Allison. If you're a SAS user (or possibly even if you aren't), its a very good treatment of the doing of survival analysis.

Survival Analysis by Klein and Moeschberger is a more theoretical treatment and reference on survival analysis, but makes for a good supplement to Allison's book.

Modeling Infectious Diseases in Humans and Animals by Keeling and Rohani, if you're interested in mathematical epidemiology, is a good introductory book that keeps a balance of practice and math.

Most other references I use are either very domain specific, or programming books.

But seriously, if you have to buy one book, that book should be Modern Epidemiology.

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All of the above sounds right. I would throw my weight behind the Klein and Moeschberger recommendation for survival analysis. I seem to remember that Thomas Lumley used it as the notation basis when he ported Therneau's survival package to R. –  DWin Jan 21 '12 at 15:45
Plus one. "But seriously, if you have to buy one book, that book should be Modern Epidemiology." –  jthetzel Jan 24 '12 at 20:48
Thank you very much! –  Ela Gordon Jan 24 '12 at 21:01

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