Public health professionals are often required to evaluate a research study. This assignment is meant to build and evaluate participants’ ability to carry out this task. Students will submit a written critique of an article which will be worth 100 points. These 100 points will comprise 15% of a participant’s final grade in Principles of Epidemiology.
The critique will include the following:
• An unstructured abstract of 200 words
• A narrative with a word count between 2,000 (minimum) and 2,500 (maximum) words. Word count excludes references, tables, figures, and abstract.
Students will be assessed on their ability to …
(a) select the most important points to include in the critique;
(b) present these points fluently and in well-structured paragraphs;
(c) create a logical critique that is well articulated and supported;
(d) craft a critique that is succinct and adheres to the provided instructions.
Your critique must demonstrate critical thinking in the evaluation of an epidemiological study.
References should adhere to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
Your critique will need to address the following ten topics. Each topic is worth 10 points for a total of 100 points. Each of the 10 topics will be scored using the following guideline:
Not Answered 0 Points
Seriously Deficient: Student reflects very little learning in CHSC 7520. 1-2 Points
Poor / Unacceptable: Student only has a rudimentary understanding of the topic. Student is unable to discuss the full nuances for a study critique.
Text does not flow well and/or is not written in well-structured sentences and paragraphs. 3-4 Points
Acceptable: Student is able to describe the basic ideas of the point and how they relate to the study. Student offers little to no insight in their response. Answer adheres to specified guidelines.
Text is relatively easy to read with few errors. 5-7 Points
Good to Very Good: Student is able to discuss the nuances of the topic and how they relate to the study. Student goes beyond the article and offers insightful commentary. Answer adheres to specified guidelines. We would be pleased to say that the answer reflects an example of what students learn in CHSC 7520. 8-9 Points
Excellent: Answer adheres to specified guidelines. Student discusses the finer nuances of the topic and how they relate to the study. The student goes beyond the article and is able to discuss how the article relates to other similar articles in the field. The answer is an exceptional example, beyond what is expected of students in CHSC 7520 10 Points
The sub-points under each of the ten topics are provided for general purpose. Some may not be relevant to the study; as well, other points may be relevant which are not included in the sub-points, below. The topics that must be covered in your critique include:
1. Research Objectives and Study Rationale
a. What is the study’s primary research objective
b. What is the rationale for the objective (why is it important to do this study?)
c. Does the study have public/population health importance? Do the authors justify this?
d. Is the rationale grounded in the literature?
2. Study Design and Study Population
a. What study design do the authors use?
b. Do the authors measure risk, incident cases, etc.?
c. What are the disadvantages/advantages of the authors’ study design vis-à-vis their research objective?
d. What is the study population? Is the study population well-suited to the research?
e. What are the eligibility criteria and how do these relate to the study objective/and interpretation of the findings?
3. Data Collection and Key Variables/Measures
a. What data collection methods did the authors use? What are the strengths/weaknesses of their data collection approach?
b. What are the key variables in the study? Is the data collection method suited to their variables of interest?
c. Are the variables suited to their research objective? Are some important variables missing?
d. How are the variables measured/defined?
e. Could you replicate their study based on the description of data collection and variables?
f. Do the authors address confounding? What confounders are included?
g. Would other data collection/variables be better suited to the study at hand? If so which methods and why?
4. Implementation of Study and Quality Control
a. How was the study population recruited?
b. What steps were taken to minimize selective factors in recruitment, retention, non-participation?
c. What safeguards were put in place re: data quality?
a. How many participants are included in analyses?
b. Were any subjects dropped? If so how many?
c. Do the authors discuss missing data?
d. What are the main findings with respect to the study objectives and “importance” ? Do you agree with the authors’ assessment of which findings are important? Why or why not?
6. Interpretation of Findings
a. How well do the authors account for non-response and other exclusions in their interpretations?
b. Does the study population reflect the target population?
c. What threats to validity are discussed? Which ones are not?
d. Have the authors discussed all relevant sources of bias?
e. Do the authors draw conclusions which are not substantiated by their results?
7. Linking with Previous Knowledge
a. Do the authors discuss how their findings compare with those from other relevant studies?
b. Do the authors discuss reasons for differences between their results and those from other studies? How well do they do this?
c. Do the authors offer possible biological or other mechanisms which could explain their findings?
d. Do the authors account for other concepts related to causal inference?
e. Is the discussion responsive to the study rationale?
f. Does the study advance knowledge?
8. Implications and Recommendations
a. What are the primary conclusions?
b. Are their conclusions supported by their findings?
c. Do authors address implications of their study and/or provide insightful recommendations for future research?
9. Overview of Strengths and Limitations
a. What are the strengths of the study?
b. What are the limitations? Are the limitations reasonable with respect to other studies in the field?
c. Could the authors have overcome some of these limitations with difficult