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Investigation 2-8
Which Design Is Best?


This investigation helps students become more familiar with the epidemiological study designs, uncover the strengths and weaknesses of each, and realize the circumstances under which each design is "best."  In order to do so, students rank order the four basic epidemiological study designs according to different characteristics, such as the speed with which a study design can be implemented, its expense, and the accuracy of the data.

Investigation Preparation Checklist

Check alignment with standards.

National or State file

Review Epidemiology Background for Module 2.

Word or PDF file

Review teacher's notes and slides:  [en espaņol:]

  • Not animated.  Recommended for quick viewing.
  • PDF: 270KB

  • Not animated.  Recommended for printing.
  • Word: 1,090KB

  • Animated viewing with Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • HTML Web file: 1,440KB

  • Animated viewing with Netscape or other browser.
  • PowerPoint file: 551KB

    Copy Investigation 2-8: Epi Log Worksheet for each student.  [en espaņol:]

    Word or PDF file

    Copy a set of Study Design Cards for each Epi Team.

    PowerPoint or PDF file

    Estimated Time / Time Management

    Approximately one class period. Time can be managed by decreasing the number of challenge questions.

    Look For Students To:

    Explain the similarities and differences between the four basic epidemiological study designs: controlled trial, cohort study, case-control study, and cross-sectional study.

    Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each study design relative to the time when the epidemiologist becomes involved during the journey between exposure and disease, and to the ways that exposure and disease are measured.

    Describe the circumstances that influence the appropriateness of one study design as compared to another.