Question, Hypothesis, and Study Design
here are no direct questions for the research described in the article “Role and Limitations of Epidemiology in Establishing a Causal Association” by Franco et al. However, it is easier to develop a research question that would have been used as a lead in the study. The question for the research described in the article is: what are the role and limitations of epidemiology in the identification of a causal association? This is the question that has led to the assessment of biological, physical and chemical environments to establish how they can contribute to the risk of contracting cancer (Franco et al., 2004, p. 413).
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There are several hypotheses that can be deduced from the content of the article. The first hypothesis could be: epidemiology is the most effective method of establishing a causal association in cancer risk assessment. The second hypothesis could be: epidemiology has a few limitations when used in the establishment of a causal association in cancer risk assessment. The title of the article “Role and limitations of epidemiology in establishing a causal association” is developed from the two hypotheses.
The research described in the article is purely based on literature review; there are no observations, questionnaires, direct or indirect interviews that were conducted to assist in the data collection. The data and information outlined in the article have been collected from other literary works. Information that has been reviewed from other literatures has been referenced, thereby giving recognition to their authors.
Evaluation and Critique of Methodology, Results, and Conclusions
The methodology used in the study described in the article is purely qualitative. Qualitative research methodology is identified by the way data is described in it. Qualitative methodology results in data, which approximates or gives characteristics of a certain phenomenon. Unlike qualitative methodology, which measures properties, qualitative research simply describes the study’s phenomenon. The main source of data for the research is written documents, which include books, other journal articles, and reports among many others.
The qualitative methodology used in the research enabled the authors to obtain the information that they wanted without difficulty. For instance, they were able to obtain easy information regarding epidemiology and other approaches for assessing carcinogenicity, cancer epidemiology involving casual criteria, benefits and shortfalls of using molecular epidemiology to assess exposure, and genetic susceptibility-related issues, among other areas of interests (Franco et al., 2004, p. 413-15). The qualitative methodology has assisted the researchers to break the main topic of research into smaller parts, making it easier for them to describe the topic and other issues related to it.
The results obtained from the literature review purely consisted of qualitative data describing the concept of epidemiology in relation to the risk of cancer. The data from the research has been presented in such a way that it is easily readable. For instance, some of the data has been presented in tabular format. The other information has been presented under various subheadings to make it easy to read through. Information on epidemiology and other approaches and criteria applied in cancer epidemiology has been presented in tables. Approaches for assessing carcinogenicity, cancer epidemiology involving casual criteria, benefits and shortfalls of using molecular epidemiology to assess exposure, and genetic susceptibility-related issues have been outlined through subheadings.
The researchers are also precise in the way they put across their results. Since the results have been obtained from other literatures, they can be considered reliable. Franco et al. (2004) have explained how epidemiology and other processes are used in the evaluation of carcinogenicity and the concept of casual criteria in cancer risk using epidemiology. They have exclusively defined and explained the roles and limitations of epidemiological procedures in exposure evaluation. They have also given explanations regarding issues related to genetic susceptibility.
The significant findings of the research include epidemiology and assessment approaches used in the evaluation of the procedures used in assessing carcinogenicity, casual criteria used in cancer epidemiology, roles and shortcomings of epidemiological methods in exposure assessment, and the concept of genetic susceptibility and difficulties in determining cancer risk in a section of the population (Franco et al., 2004, p. 414, 415, 418). These findings are all related to epidemiology and assessment of cancer risk in a population, which were the main objectives of the research.
The study concluded that epidemiological approaches have recently become so vigorous with the introduction of molecular methods. Therefore, the approaches can be considered reliable in the assessment of the risk of cancer in a population. Despite all these advancements, many epidemiologists still prefer to use statistical analysis to reduce the effects that come with poor methods of evaluating the relationship between the risk of cancer and the epidemiological processes or approaches for assessing carcinogenicity (Franco et al., 2004, p. 421). The authors have recommended better strategies for research that may be conducted in the future. The authors have refrained from prejudice and have even admitted that there were weaknesses in their research.
Franco et al. (2004). Role and limitations of epidemiology in establishing a casual association. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 14, 413-426.