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Epidemiology is a study that deals with the distribution of diseases and their possible determinants in humans (Dubey, Gupta, & Jain, 2015). It is not enough to learn the terms and use them while analyzing a disease. It is important to understand all aspects of a disease and its possible development, growth, and consequences. The identification of key data measurements of epidemiology is an important step in learning health care and nursing. Several epidemiological issues will be discussed in this report.
Advantages of Measurements
Epidemiology is the representation of specific data. Several types of tables and graphs are available to people who are going to present epidemiological data, including a bar chart, a line graph, and a pie chart (Duquia, Bastos, Bonamigo, Gonzalez-Chica, & Martinez-Mesa, 2014). Each of these methods has its own positive and negative aspects. The main advantages of bar charts are the possibility to demonstrate a frequency of cases regarding each variable and easy usability
. It can be used to summarize data quickly. Therefore, it is frequently used in different fields. In comparison with a bar chart, a line graph can be used in longitudinal studies. New information can be easily added to different subgroups for comparison and analysis. A pie chart is a circle in terms of which it is possible to introduce a large data set. The advantages of this chart are its colorful display, visual simplicity, and the possibility to give minimal explanations.
Definitions of Terms
The term “ratio” plays an important role in epidemiology. A ratio is defined as a value that can be obtained by dividing one quantity by another quantity (“Descriptive epidemiology”, 2015). A “rate” is another important term for consideration. It is a measurement of the frequency with which a disease may occur in a certain population in a definite period of time (e.g., a number of deaths because of cancer among the US population during the last two years). A “proportion” is the same as the rate, but without a time dimension (“Descriptive epidemiology”, 2015). The example is the number of diabetes patients in a hospital divided by the US population. A “percentage” is the rate in each hundred (e.g., females comprise 25% of the community population).
Prevalence and Incidence
In epidemiology, an incidence is a number of new cases that can be observed in the population of people at risk defined in a certain period of time (“Descriptive epidemiology”, 2015). As a rule, one year is the period for consideration. For example, the incidence rate of alcohol dependence has been considerably decreased from 52 cases to 38 cases per 100 during the last year. Incidence should not be confused with a prevalence that means the number of people with a certain disease/at risk at a defined time. It is a proportion, but not a rate with the help of which it is possible to identify a disease burden (“Descriptive epidemiology”, 2015). The example of the prevalence of cancer cases in children aged 2-7 years was 0.01% in the last year.
In general, the knowledge of data measurements in epidemiology is important in different fields. Nurses and other medical workers, as well as researchers and students, have to understand what kind of information should be given, and what form of data representation is appropriate. Incidence and prevalence can be perfectly introduced with the help of bar charts, line graphs, and pie charts.
Descriptive epidemiology: Rates, ratios, etc. (2015). Web.
Dubey, A.K., Gupta, U., & Jain, S. (2015). Breast cancer statistics and prediction methodology: A systematic review and analysis. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 16(10), 4237-4245.
Duquia, R.P., Bastos, J.L., Bonamigo, R.R., Gonzalez-Chica, D.A., & Martinez-Mesa, J. (2014). Presenting data in tables and charts. Anais Brasilerios de Dermatologia, 89(2), 280-285.