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.
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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.
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.