Epidemiological Study Designs In The Media

Nearly every day, population health studies appear in the media. The studies often include epidemiological research. The type of study design used can have a profound impact on how the study results are analyzed, interpreted, and reported. Common study designs include case control, cohort, cross-sectional, and community intervention trials

 

Based on media descriptions of the research, however, facts about the issue under study may appear less than obvious. Media reports may sensationalize results and overstate outcomes. Someone familiar with epidemiological methodology may note a lack of detail in mass media reports of research findings compared to articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

For this Discussion, you will compare an epidemiological study to a mass media article written about the study to examine ways epidemiologic information is disseminated to and utilized by different audiences.

To prepare:

  • Locate a mass media article published within the last year that describes findings of an epidemiological study. Be sure that the article is about an epidemiological study and not another area of population health.
  • Then, use the Walden Library to locate the peer-reviewed research article on which the mass media report is based.
By Day 3 of Week 7

Post a response to the following:

  • Briefly summarize the study you found, and then include the citations for both the mass media and the peer-reviewed articles.
  • Explain what epidemiological concepts are included in the mass media article (e.g., measures of association, study design, confounders, and bias) and how they compare to those in the peer-reviewed article.
  • Give your assessment of how well the mass media article represented the actual research that was conducted. Describe any obvious omissions from the mass media article that epidemiologists critiquing the study would need to know.
  • Finally, imagine that a patient brings this mass media article to you and asks you for your informed opinion. Explain how you would respond or interpret the article for the patient.