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2300 FT Lecture2 Slides

2300 FT Lecture2 Slides - Lecture 2 The research process...

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Hannah Wong School of Health Policy and Management Faculty of Health Lecture 2: The research process and study designs
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2 Motivation Claim: Children who go to school without eating a nutritious breakfast are less likely to succeed in school, and face bullying, anxiety and depression, impacting their mental health. Claim: Eating blueberries protects us from developing cancer How do we know whether to believe all of the reports relating to health that the media present to us? How do we evaluate research evidence to make appropriate decisions about various forms of treatment? As researchers, we design and carry out research in order to find evidence to help us answer such questions.
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3 The research process 1. Read relevant literature 2. Generate the research question: eg. Is there a link between personality and ability to quit smoking? 3. Generate a precise research hypothesis eg. Will participants who are high in extroversion and low in neuroticism find it easier to quit smoking than those high in neuroticism and low in extroversion? Note: the way we frame our research question and hypothesis has a dramatic effect on our research design, data collection and type of statistical analysis. 4. Design study 5. Conduct study 6. Analyze data 7. Decide whether to support hypothesis
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4 Variables and experimental units A variable is a characteristic that changes or varies over time and/or for different individuals or objects under consideration. Variables are measurable concepts that take on different values (eg quality of life, heart rate). An experimental unit is the individual or object on which a variable is measured. When a variable is actually measured on a set of experimental units, a set of measurements or data results. If a measurement is generated for every experimental unit in the entire collection, the resulting data set constitutes the population of interest. Any smaller subset of measurements is a sample .
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5 Population versus sample In most statistical problems, a specified number of measurements or data a sample is drawn from a much larger body of measurements, called the population . We hope that the sample (subset drawn from population) is representative of the population. Which is of primary interest, the sample or the population? In most cases, we are interested primarily in the population, but the population may be difficult (too expensive or too time consuming) or impossible to enumerate. Instead, we try to describe or predict the behavior of the population on the basis of information obtained from a representative sample from the population.
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Study designs 6 1. Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) or experimental studies 2. Observational or non-experimental studies Cohort (prospective, retrospective) Case control Cross-sectional 3. Evidence synthesis methods Systematic reviews Meta-analyses
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7 Experimental studies More often than not, we are interested in trying to identify causal relationships between variables (which variable causes changes in another variable).
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