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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James C. Torner, PhD, MS (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This is thought-provoking introductory book that can provide a foundation for epidemiology students and academicians. More than a reiteration of epidemiology design and methods, it is a commentary on epidemiological concepts and how the methods are applied. The first edition was published in 2002. New to this edition are chapters on historical aspects of epidemiology and infectious disease epidemiology and an expansion of measurement errors and biases.
Purpose: The goal is to add understanding and critical thinking to the foundations of epidemiology. Because the methodology of epidemiology has implications, the author describes the context of design and analytical issues in causation, analytical conclusions, and applications.
Audience: It appears to me that the author strives to educate readers beyond the basic concepts and methods. Hence, although not stated, students who want more than just how to do epidemiology, instead striving to understand what epidemiology does, will enjoy this book. It is designed to stimulate. The author is a recognized scholar in epidemiology and wants to provide ideas as a forum for discussion, which he continues to do with this edition.
Features: The book lays a foundation in the first few chapters with key epidemiology concepts, the supporting historical developments, and understanding of causation. The next section focuses on measurement and design in epidemiological studies. A chapter on infectious disease epidemiology describes the methods and modeling of infectious diseases. The next section focuses on bias identification and then bias control. The subsequent chapters focus on interpreting interactions and regression modeling. The book finishes with an application to clinical epidemiology. The flow between chapters is traditional, yet unique to thought development. The book does not go into depth on analytical methods, but other books might be supportive.
Assessment: Students and scholars who pursue epidemiology as a career should find this book a useful addition to their library. It does not present different basic concepts and methods than other introductory books do, but it does provide insights into how they developed and should be interpreted. This is a worthwhile new edition.