• April 18th, 2016

Critical Appraisal of a Disease

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

This includes 3 pages essay writing.

Question of the Assignment:
• Choose a disease or health condition to study, and find four relevant, epidemiological papers.
• Essay structured in 5x600word sections:
– 1. introduction, background epidemiology and importance of topic
– 2. critical review of a paper that analyses a cross-sectional study
– 3. critical review of case control study
– 4. critical review of cohort study
• 3000 words maximum (excl. figures and reference list).
• you do need five sections, the first one headed ‘Background’ or ‘Epidemiology of XXX’.
• For the next four sections, you do not need to reproduce the entire title of your chosen paper in your essay (this uses a lot of words), just put something like ‘case control study (Smith and Jones, 2010)’. Make sure that your reference list includes your four chosen papers as well as all the other works you have cited.

• The layout that you propose for each 600 word section looks rather similar to the abstract of a paper, so my fear here is that if you use this structure you may use too many words summarising what the authors have put in their abstract, and would have insufficient words left for your review. In fact, for a 600 word section you do not really need subheadings.
• Your section should include briefly what the study was about–what was the outcome? What were the variables that were used to predict the outcome? What were the main features of the design that are relevant to your assessment of causality?–e.g. If a case-control study, how similar were the cases to the controls, and if they could be different, what impact does this have on the findings? Here you can cite other studies or papers/books about methodology to show that you have accessed the literature.
• As a concluding line or two to the section, please reflect on whether the study demonstrated or strongly suggested a cause and effect relationship. Could the study be improved, e.g. By using a different design (e.g. Cohort instead of case-control) or by improving the method used within that study design (e.g. In a case control-study, was there a better way of selecting the controls)? You can also cite other papers that have used different study types (or perhaps the same study type) to explore the same association, and use this to show your skills in synthesis and add strength to your conclusion as to whether or not there is likely to be a true cause and effect relationship.

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