University of Technology Sydney

090022 Advanced Epidemiology

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

This subject covers critical knowledge that public health practitioners and health researchers need concerning epidemiology. It enables students to develop a detailed understanding of, and skills in, epidemiological study designs that are necessary for the conduct of public health research and critical appraisal of the public health literature. Topics covered in this subject include the major study designs of descriptive studies, cohort studies, case control studies, and randomised controlled trials. There is also a focus on the synthesis of research data, including systematic reviews and meta analyses. The subject helps students to build knowledge and skills in interpretation and application of research methods for policy and practice in public health contexts.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Appraise the various types of descriptive studies including cross-sectional and ecological designs.
B. Articulate the relative merits of various sampling methods in minimising sampling bias.
C. Articulate the importance of selecting appropriate measurements in epidemiological studies in minimising measurement bias.
D. Appraise the main design features of case control studies, cohort studies, randomised controlled trials .
E. Summarise current literature relevant to a research question using systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Critique, interpret and synthesise epidemiological outcomes and statistical findings at a superior level to inform the surveillance, management and prevention of disease and illness, and promotion of health for the complex issues inherent in public health (1.1)
  • Design and apply research methods to a variety of public health problems (1.2)
  • Contribute to complex policy-related dialogue and evaluation of public health strategies in the community (2.3)
  • Establish a commitment to the development of superior knowledge and skills within public health in order to prioritise reducing disease, disability and illness (5.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attirubutes:

  • Demonstrate reflective critical thinking to enable critical appraisal of current practice, policy and research with the aim to enhance health care and healthcare outcomes, and transform health (1.0)
  • Critique, interpret and synthesise data and research findings to inform the surveillance, management, prevention of disease and illness and promotion of health for the complex issues inherent in public health (1.1)
  • Apply research methods to a variety of public health problems (1.2)
  • Contribute to policy-related dialogue and evaluation of public health strategies in the community (2.3)
  • Establish a commitment to the development of knowledge and skills within public health in order to prioritise reducing disease, disability and illness (5.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

In this subject students will participate in a number of teaching and learning activities that are designed to actively engage students to develop learning in epidemiology principles and scholarship. Students will attend three days of on-campus workshops. Prior to the on-campus workshops, students will be required to read set texts (eg. book chapters, journal articles) which are essential background knowledge for the on-campus activities. The on-campus learning activities will include seminars and oral presentations, round table discussions and problem-based learning activities. Throughout the session, students will also be provided with additional material online (Blackboard) (eg. journal articles, webcasts, website links) and online discussion will be used to further clarify lecture material. The online activities will take 2-3 hours per week, to prepare students for the assessment tasks in a phased and iterative manner. Early feedback will be provided on moderated discussion board activities and assessment will be explained in the face-to-face workshops as well as via the discussion board.

Content (topics)

Topic 1: Descriptive studies.
Topic 2: Cohort Study.
Topic 3: Case control study.
Topic 4: Randomised controlled trials.
Topic 5: Systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Short Answers

Intent:

This assessment is designed to test students ability to identify the strengths and limitations of various epidemiological study designs.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B and C

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

.0 and 1.1

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%
Length:

1,500 words

Assessment task 2: Critical review

Intent:

This assessment contributes to developing critical reasoning skills and facilitates understanding of the complexity of study design issues. This also contributes to student learning by develpoing written communication skills.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

.0, 1.1, 1.2 and 2.3

Type: Essay
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%
Length:

2,500 words

Assessment task 3: Study design

Intent:

This assessment is designed to provide students with a practical example of how to design an appropriate study to answer a typical public health research question. The activity facilitates an understanding of how different research approaches can be employed to explore issues in health.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B, C and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

.0, 2.3 and 5.1

Type: Case study
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Length:

3,000 words

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres: www.uts.edu.au/current-students/contacts/general-contacts

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website (www.uts.edu.au/about/faculty-health) and UTSOnline at: https://online.uts.edu.au/webapps/login/

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W: lib.uts.edu.au, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS (www.ssu.uts.edu.au/helps). HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see www.uts.edu.au for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.