Epidemiology eBook

Second Edition

Petra Buettner, Reinhold Muller

Epidemiology eBook

Second Edition

Petra Buettner, Reinhold Muller






2 Sep 2015




$78.95 AUD

$90.99 NZD

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Epidemiology 2nd edition is a methodological and practical guide to conducting evidence-based quantitative research in all health sciences. With a multidisciplinary focus, it integrates a wealth of case studies and examples to demonstrate the application of theory to real-life research and draws from a broad spectrum of health disciplines.

The book follows a two level ‘methods based’ approach which clearly differentiates between introductory knowledge that all students of epidemiology should be familiar with and “beyond the basics” information for the interested or more advanced reader. Each chapter includes tips, key definitions and critical thinking exercises to help readers engage with key concepts and extend their knowledge of epidemiological methodologies.

New to this edition
  • New and updated case studies throughout the text, providing insights into current Australian and international epidemiological research.
  • A new section on superiority, equivalence and non-inferiority status in Chapter 7: Experimental Designs.
  • Revised and updated section of infectious disease concepts, including discussion of emerging infectious diseases and a new case study on transmission routes.
  • Greater coverage of missing values, internet-based surveys and the Dillman Protocol, and agreement studies, with inclusion of the Bland-Altman Plot.
  • A testbank of multiple choice and short answer questions, for lecturers to use in their teaching.


1. What is Epidemiology? 
Key learning objectives
Key terms
Defining epidemiology
Classification of epidemiology
Further classifications of epidemiology
The epidemiological process
A brief history of epidemiology
Examples of major achievements in public health through epidemiology
Further reading
Answers to critical thinking exercises

2. Disease Concepts in Epidemiology 
Key learning objectives 36
Key terms 36
Introduction 37
The natural history of disease 38
Aetiology of disease 42
An epidemiological approach to causality 46
Infectious disease concepts
The epidemiological triangle: Agent–host–environment
Some basic concepts used in infectious disease epidemiology
Investigation of an infectious disease outbreak
Modelling infectious diseases
Summary 79
Further reading 79
Websites 80
Bibliography 80
Answers to critical thinking exercises

3. Identification of Disease - Diagnostic Tests and Screening
Key learning objectives 90
Key terms 90
Introduction 91
Quality measures of diagnostic tests 92
Assessing reliability of diagnostic tests 93
Assessing validity of diagnostic tests 97
How to calculate predictive values from sensitivity and specificity 101
Dependence of predictive values on prevalence 103
Receiver operating characteristics: Optimising cut-off points 105
Screening for disease
Summary 115
Further reading 115
Websites 116
Bibliography 116
Answers to critical thinking exercises
4. Measures of Disease Frequency 
Key learning objectives 121
Key terms 121
Prevalence 123
Relationship between prevalence and incidence 137
Standardisation of rates
Summary 147
Further reading 147
Websites 147
Bibliography 147
Answers to critical thinking exercises

5. From Research Topic to Research Hypothesis
Key learning objectives 153
Key terms 153
How do you choose a research topic? 154
The literature review
Some practical tips on conducting a literature review
The operational research hypothesis 169
Summary 173
Further reading 173
Websites 173
Bibliography 174
Answers to critical thinking exercises
6. Quantitative Descriptive Study Designs
Key learning objectives 177
Key terms 177
What are quantitative descriptive studies?
Descriptive epidemiology by person, place, and time
Routine health statistics: An initial source of descriptive data
Limitations of routinely collected health data
Vital statistics 195
Gaining access to routinely collected data 199
Ecological (correlation) studies
Case report and case series 207
Descriptive cross-sectional studies
Summary 212
Further reading 213
Websites 213
Bibliography 213
Answers to critical thinking exercises
7. Experimental Designs
Key learning objectives 222
Key terms 223
What defines an experimental study? 223
Design options for experimental studies
Technical aspects of experimental studies
Summary 258
Further reading 259
Websites 259
Bibliography 259
Answers to critical thinking exercises
8. Observational Designs
Key learning objectives 267
Key terms 267
What defines an observational study? 268
Directionality and timing
The three basic observational study designs
Measures of association
Other observational study designs 314
Summary 317
Further reading 317
Bibliography 318
Answers to critical thinking exercises
9. Sources of Bias
Key learning objectives 329
Key terms 329
The concept of bias 330
Selection bias
Information bias
Confounding bias
Control of bias 368
Direction of bias 371
Summary 375
Further reading 376
Bibliography 376
Answers to critical thinking exercises

10. Sampling Strategy and Sample Size Calculation 
Key learning objectives 385
Key terms 385
Introduction 386
Sampling strategy
Sample size calculation
Summary 402
Further reading 403
Websites 403
Bibliography 403
Answers to critical thinking exercises

11. Quantitative Methods of Data Collection
Key learning objectives 409
Key terms 409
Introduction 410
The format of responses
Validated instruments 431
What can go wrong with data collection?
Summary 435
Further reading 435
Websites 436
Bibliography 436
Answers to critical thinking exercises 

12. Statistics with Confidence
Key learning objectives 443
Key terms 443
Why statistics? 444
Types of quantitative data 445
Descriptive statistics
Inferential statistics 452
Confidence interval
Statistical hypothesis testing
The pitfalls of agreement and equivalence 470
Multivariable statistical analysis
The use of computer programs for data analysis 478
Summary 479
Further reading 480
Websites 480
Bibliography 481
Answers to critical thinking exercises
13. Ethical Considerations
Key learning objectives 490
Key terms 490
What is ethics? 491
A historical perspective of ethics in health research 492
Principles of biomedical ethics
Further ethical issues in health research
Health research conducted in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 509
Scientific misconduct 511
Ethical theory and public health
Summary 517
Further reading 517
Websites 517
Bibliography 518
Answers to critical thinking exercises
14. How to Read and Write Scientific Publications
Key learning objectives 525
Key terms 525
The structure of a scientific publication
Guidelines for writing scientific articles 531
Technical aspects of publishing a scientific article
How to read a scientific publication
Summary 556
Further reading 556
Websites 556


Petra Büttner: Director of Tropical Health Solutions and has almost 30 years of lecturing undergraduate medical, nursing and allied health students.

Reinhold Muller: Director of Tropical Health Solutions and Principal Research Fellow at James Cook University.

Lynne Bartlett
Monika Buhrer-Skinner
Alan Clough 
Elissa Cox
Sue Devine
Adèle C. Green 
Simone Harrison 
Clare Heal 
Richard Heller 
Diana Mendez 
Sanjay Patole 
Rick Speare

Lecturer Resources

The following resources are available for lecturers who prescribe Epidemiology for their course:

  • Imagebank of figures and tables from the book
  • Testbank of multiple choice and short answer questions for each chapter
For more information about the resources for Epidemiology, please contact your Oxford Territory Manager.

Sample Pages

Read a sample from Epidemiology 2nd edition: