2
$\begingroup$

Is it fair to say that observational studies are the 'bread and butter' of epidemiological studies?

By epidemiological studies I mean studies looking for an association between an environmental factor and a disease.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Yes.

Well, "Yes, but..."

Observational studies are the 'bread and butter' of epidemiology, as generally speaking if we can manage to assign you an exposure we're talking about clinical trials, and those generally aren't considered "Epidemiology", but this:

"By epidemiological studies I mean studies looking for an association between an environmental factor and a disease." is a bad definition. There are a massive number of potential Exposure - Disease relationships Epidemiology concerns itself with that aren't environmental.

$\endgroup$
8
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mind explaining what about my answer you find objectionable? $\endgroup$ Jan 25 '13 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. I am in particular looking at environmental factors, wasn't meaning that to be a definition of epidemiology, but thanks for the clarification. $\endgroup$
    – Rich Brown
    Jan 25 '13 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanChristensen See my comment to the author regarding his definition. "Epidemiological studies look at the environmental factors which people happen to live with" is not a good definition of Epidemiological studies. While his interest may be in environmental factors, and those are a subset of Epi, as a generalizable answer to the question, it's missing a great deal. $\endgroup$
    – Fomite
    Jan 25 '13 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ @EpiGrad So basically you downvoted me because I answered the question as asked and you thought it was a bad question? $\endgroup$ Jan 25 '13 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanChristensen I downvoted the answer because it was a bad question and your answer made no attempt to correct it, allowing said badness to cement itself in what's intended to be a public, semi-permanent base of knowledge. $\endgroup$
    – Fomite
    Jan 25 '13 at 20:11
0
$\begingroup$

Yes. Epidemiological studies look at the environmental factors which people happen to live with; they don't assign people to live with certain environmental factors, which would have serious ethical problems ("We're going to assign you to live in a home with high radon concentrations... sorry, but it's for science!").

As such, they are observational studies, not controlled experiments.

$\endgroup$
0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.