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Critical appraisal of a retrospective cohort study 

Critical appraisal of a retrospective cohort study
Chapter:
Critical appraisal of a retrospective cohort study
Author(s):

Mark Elwood

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199682898.003.0015
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date: 19 September 2019

This chapter presents a retrospective cohort study of workers from 10 countries exposed to chlorophenoxy herbicides, assessing cancer mortality. It shows the need for large collaborative international studies, and the methods used. The results are not clearly supported by toxicological and animal experimental evidence, and the question remains open. The critical assessment follows the scheme set out in chapter 10: describing the study, assessing the non-causal explanations of observation bias, confounding, and chance variation; assessing time relationships, strength, dose-response, consistency and specificity, and applying the results to the eligible, source, and target populations; and then comparing the results with evidence from other studies, considering consistency and specificity, biological mechanisms, and coherence with the distribution of exposures and outcomes. The chapter gives a summary and table of the critical assessment and its conclusions; and comments on the impact of the study and research carried out since.

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