Tag Archives: epidemiology

Bringing interventions into the research itself, in Ontario and Santiago?

I am wondering whether there are points of fruitful interaction to be had between a proposed approach to research within the Ontario Health Study and the work on cultivating citizen volunteers among users Twitter in responding to disasters in Chile. Continue reading

Nature-Nurture? No! (an overview of a book)

Nature-Nurture? No:  Moving the Sciences of Variation and Heredity Beyond the Gaps

Almost every day we hear that some trait “has a strong genetic basis” or “of course it is a combination of genes and environment, but the hereditary component is sizeable.” To say No to Nature-Nurture is to reject this relative weighting of heredity and environment. Continue reading

How to describe an epidemiological detective or naturalist’s method?

For session 2 of my course on epidemiological thinking and population health I state:

Detailed observation (like a naturalist) or detective work–albeit informed by theoretical ideas–may be needed before we can characterize what the phenomenon is we are studying, what questions we need to ask, and what categories we need for subsequent data collection and analysis. (http://ppol753.wikispaces.umb.edu/Epi_2)

This statement invites clarification of what a naturalist or a detective does–what are their methods?  Continue reading

Creative Thinking in Epidemiology (Day 3 of Learning Road Trip)

On Sept. 21, the Creative Thinking in Epidemiology workshop was run again, this time with researchers associated with Cancer Care Ontario and the Epidemiology Department at the University of Toronto. Continue reading

Creative Thinking in Epidemiology (Day 1 of Learning Road Trip)

Today is the first of 20 days of what I am calling a “Learning Road Trip.”  Each day’s post will present the planned activity and be revised later to indicate how it went.

Creative Thinking in Epidemiology is a 4.5 hour workshop on 19 Sept hosted by ENVIRON in Amherst, MA, with participation from UMass Amherst. Continue reading

Creative Thinking in Epidemiology: 5. Alternatives to some statistical conventions & 6. Agent-oriented epidemiology

5.  Alternatives to some statistical conventions: As I have developed my ability to read the epidemiological literature and explain the methods and controversies over methods to others, I have taken note of approaches or perspectives that depart from statistical conventions.  The third Appendix includes some items from my mixed grab bag of alternatives.  There is no grand theory linking them.  Readers might have objections to some of the alternatives and the thinking behind them, but they might also be stimulated to explore their implications further.  Continue reading

Creative Thinking in Epidemiology: 4. Wider discussion among researchers

4.  Wider discussion among researchers: As mentioned in the introduction, my Epidemiological Thinking course (http://ppol753.wikispaces.umb.edu) is designed with a view to more non-specialists becoming conversant with the methods, results, and controversies in social epidemiology and related fields.  I envisage a form of epidemiological literacy in which specialists can be drawn into conversation or collaboration by other researchers who appreciate epidemiological concepts even if they lack the technical skills to analyze the data themselves.  Indeed, I hope my course engages students who would either avoid a biostatistically oriented epidemiology course or would lose their grip on most of the technical details after struggling through such a course. Continue reading