In the field of epidemiology, need to establish disease causation is of the prime interest. Such is the case given the focus of this discipline to determine the agent, host and the environmental factors that contribute to disease existence. Thus, many tools exist that scientists utilize in their work. Befitting examples of such tools include but not limited to probability, odds ratio, study designs and risks ratio. In essence, identification of these crucial tools is the central theme of this discussion.
Firstly and most importantly, epidemiologists rely on probability as a tool for their work. Probability is a statistical element that enables one to establish the likelihood of disease occurrence. Such an outcome is desirable in epidemiology given the need to establish the disease causation (Bhopal, 2016).
Secondly, study designs are also in use by epidemiologists in their daily operations. Cross-sectional, ecological, cohort, case-control and experimental studies are among the most commonly used study designs. Cross-sectional studies help ascertain the cause and effect simultaneously while ecological studies investigate the association between the exposure and outcome. On the other hand, case-control studies also aim to establish the link between the cause and health outcome in two groups (the cases and controls). Cohort study designs seek to establish the likelihood of one to develop a condition after a period of follow-up. Lastly, experimental designs are essential in the determination of disease causation (Goussanou, Kpodekon, Youssao, Farougou, & Korsak, 2014). Evidently, all these study designs are critical to epidemiological work.
Finally, the epidemiologists use odds and risk ratios in their determination of risks and evaluation of their association to disease. Odds ratios, for instance, are used in case-control studies to show the likelihood of a certain cause to result in a particular outcome. On the contrary, the calculation of risk ratios is a necessity of cohort studies to evaluate the association of a risk factor to an outcome (disease) (Bhopal, 2016).
In closure, working in the epidemiological field prescribes that individuals must be conversant with the relevant tools. Thus, understanding their applicability is an equally important aspect for the success of epidemiological operations.
Bhopal, R. A. J. S. (2016). CONCEPTS OF EPIDEMIOLOGY: Integrating the ideas, theories, principles, and methods of epidemiology. S.l.: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS.
Goussanou, J., Kpodekon, M., Youssao, A., Farougou, S., & Korsak, N. (2014). Epidemiological tools for effective surveillance of porcine cysticercosis in Africa. Vet World, 7(3), 125-134. http://dx.doi.org/10.14202/vetworld.2014.125-134
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