Show Summary Details
Page of

What is epidemiology? The nature, scope, variables, principal measures, and designs of a biological, clinical, social, and ecological science 

What is epidemiology? The nature, scope, variables, principal measures, and designs of a biological, clinical, social, and ecological science
Chapter:
What is epidemiology? The nature, scope, variables, principal measures, and designs of a biological, clinical, social, and ecological science
Author(s):

Raj S. Bhopal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198739685.003.0001
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 02 April 2020

Populations, as with individuals, have unique patterns of disease. The science of epidemiology, which straddles biology, clinical medicine, social sciences, and ecology, seeks to describe, understand, and utilize these patterns to improve population health. Epidemiology’s central paradigm is that analysis of population patterns of disease, particularly by linking these to exposure variables (risk factors), provides understanding of their causes. Epidemiology is useful in other ways, including preventing and controlling disease in populations and guiding health and health-care policy and planning. Epidemiology can help clinicians to manage the health care of individuals. Epidemiology has a large toolbox. At its core lies the measurement of the prevalence and incidence of risk factors and outcomes. These measurements are generated by study types (designs) that serve the various purposes of epidemiology. Of the many kinds of studies available, the most important are case series (register studies), cross-sectional, case–control, cohort, and intervention (trials) studies.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.