Week 3: Discussion- Epidemiological Methods and Measurements Essay



Week 3: Discussion- Epidemiological Methods and Measurements Essay

Q1. What is the fundamental difference between a case control and a randomized controlled trial?

Case-control studies and randomized controlled trials (RCT) differ in various aspects, including the mechanisms of preventive biases and confounding variables. According to Tenny et al. (2022), a case-control study is an observational study where researchers construct control groups like the intervention groups with different outcomes of interest. This study design enables researchers to unearth factors associated with diseases and outcomes. On the other hand, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are prospective quantitative experiments conducted under controlled conditions where researchers randomly allocate interventions to comparison groups (Bhide et al., 2018). The primary objective of conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) is to determine the cause-effect relationship between an intervention and an outcome.

Q2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of case-control studies?

Case-control studies have various advantages in epidemiological research. For instance, they allow researchers to study rare diseases and ease the analysis of multiple risk factors for these diseases (Tenny et al., 2022). Further, these studies are cost-effective and are not time-consuming because researchers have no obligation to determine the cause-effect relation. However, case-control studies have various limitations and disadvantages, including a high risk of bias, the failure to establish a correlation between exposures and outcomes, the need to form control groups with similar characteristics to intervention groups, and the likelihood of collecting some unmeasurable data. An increased risk of biases affects the study’s internal validity, reliability, and the findings’ generalizability.

Q3. What are the characteristics of a correlational study?

A correlational study is a research design that aims to establish the relationships between variables. According to Cherry (2022), correlational studies are non-experimental, meaning researchers do not manipulate or control variables. After conducting this research, researchers can present findings and analyze data using correlation coefficients that confirm positive, negative, and no correlations between variables. Correlational studies are susceptible to extraneous variables because researchers cannot control variables. This factor compromises the validity, reliability, and generalizability of case-control studies.

Q4. Where does case control fall on the research pyramid? What does where it is on the research pyramid mean?

The hierarchy of evidence (levels of evidence) categorizes different research studies based on various considerations. According to Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt (2019), the levels of the risk of bias and the generalizability of evidence are the primary criteria for categorizing evidence sources in the research pyramid. Case-control studies fall in the second last category, including case studies, case series, quality improvement projects (QIs), Evidence-based practice implementation, and qualitative and descriptive studies. The position of case-control studies in the second last category means they have a high risk of bias and their findings are less generalizable to a broader group of people (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2021). Therefore, they have limited internal validity, reliability, and generalizability, prompting researchers to conduct experimental studies to obtain reliable, accurate, and transferable findings.



Bhide, A., Shah, P. S., & Acharya, G. (2018). A simplified guide to randomized controlled trials. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 97(4), 380–387. https://doi.org/10.1111/aogs.13309

Cherry, K. (2022). What is a correlational study? https://www.verywellmind.com/correlational-research-2795774

Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2019). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice (4th ed.). Wolters Kluwer Health.

Tenny, S., Hoffman, M. R., & Kerndt, C. C. (2019, January 19). Case-control studies. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448143/



 Week 3: Discussion- Epidemiological Methods and Measurements

This discussion board content is intended to facilitate learning for students through engaging dialogues as they achieve the desired learning outcomes/competencies associated with their course in a manner that empowers them to organize, integrate, apply and critically appraise their knowledge to their selected field of practice.  

The use of discussions provides students with opportunities to contribute graduate level-appropriate knowledge and experience to the topic in a safe, caring, and fluid environment that models professional and social interaction. The ebb and flow of a discussion is based upon the composition of student and faculty interaction in the quest for relevant scholarship.  

Participation in the discussion generates opportunities for students to actively engage in the written ideas of others by carefully reading, researching, reflecting, and responding to the contributions of their peers and course faculty. Discussions foster the development of members into a community of learners as they share ideas and inquiries, consider perspectives that may be different from their own, and integrate knowledge from other disciplines.

Due Date:

Initial prompt due by Wednesday, 11:59 PM MT of week 3
One peer and one faculty or two peer posts due by Sunday 11:59 PM MT of week 3
A 10% late penalty will be imposed for initial discussions posted after the weekly deadline regardless of the number of days late. No postings will be accepted after 11:59pm MT on Sunday (i.e. student will receive an automatic 0). Week 8 discussion closes on Saturday at 11:59pm MT. 

Total Points: 60 Points

Week 3:

This week we are comparing and contrasting epidemiological methods of research; case-control and cohort study methods. Select either the case-control or cohort study method and compare its features, the methodology, to a randomized controlled trial using the following questions. Please format, organize, your responses using each question below:

What is the fundamental difference between the method you have chosen (either the case-control or cohort method) and the randomized controlled trial?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the study method you chose (case-control or cohort study)?
What are the characteristics of a correlational study?
Where does the method you chose (case-control or cohort study) fall on the research pyramid? What does where it is on the research pyramid mean?
Post your response to the DB. Your analysis should have in-text citations and utilize a scholarly voice with APA formatting.

Respond to a total of two posts: Either two (2) peer posts or a peer and faculty post (all faculty posts require a response), with a minimum of one paragraph of 4-5 sentences, on two (2) different days of the week. Your reply post should be specific to this week\'s topic of epidemiological research methods and should integrate in-text citation(s).

Your reply post/s should integrate course content (such as course terminology) related to the study method as well as an integration of in-text citations along with a scholarly voice and APA formatting. The textbook may be utilized as a resource.

Posting Directions

Posts should be made on a minimum of 3 separate days/dates.
All faculty replies to students must be responded to directly in the discussion board.
Minimum posting is:
Initial discussion board post to the weekly prompt, two peer posts (if there are no faculty postings), or one peer post and a faculty post.
**To see view the grading criteria/rubric, please click on the 3 dots in the box at the end of the solid gray bar above the discussion board title and then Show Rubric.
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