Epidemiology Class

The proposal should start with a Title Page, including the title of the study, the date of the proposal, authors’ names, and the class information.

This page should be followed by an Abstract of no more than 100 words.

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The proposal should be a linear document and should be divided into the following sections:

  1. The Introduction should contain the following:

• A concise description of the nature of the problem (the discrepancy between what is and what should be) and of the size, distribution, and severity of the problem (who is affected, where, since when, and what are the consequences).

• An extensive, systematic, and critical review of all the relevant peer-reviewed publications dealing with the topic/problem being investigated.

• Rationale for the study: This relates to the origin/source of the topic and the importance of the problem. A brief description of any solutions to the problem that have been tried in the past should be given, how well they have worked, and why further research is needed.

• Objectives of this specific study, including the general objective (general aim or purpose of the study which is derived from the research topic) and specific objectives, which are based on your general objective. You should list the specific objectives to be achieved at the end of the study. This can either be in the form of a statement (to determine, to compare, …) or a research question. In the case of analytical or experimental studies, hypotheses could be stated instead of specific objectives.

• Significance of the study: This is a description of the type of information expected to result from the project and a clarification of how this information will be used to help solve the problem (contribution to existing knowledge).

  1. The Methods section should contain the following information:

• Study population and sampling: Define the study population (e.g., age, sex, place, condition) and the sampling or selection method/criteria.

• Study setting as relevant to the specific problem being investigated. For example, a brief description of the relevant geography, socio-demographic or cultural characteristics, health status, or health care system.

• A ‘definition and operationalization of concepts into variables’ section. Define all the concepts in your title and objectives operationally, i.e., the way the terms will be used in your study. Define the dependent variable, the independent variable(s) and if relevant, the confounding variables.

• Study design: Select and explain the design of your study based on the research topic. State whether it is an observational study or an intervention study. If it is an observational study, is it a descriptive study or an analytical study (cross-sectional, case-control, cohort study). In case of an intervention study describe, if relevant, the method of randomization and concealment of treatment allocation.

• Measurement instrument: Based on your topic, research design and study population, identify the appropriate instrument(s) for data collection, such as: interview guide, questionnaire, checklist, or data collection form. Describe the instrument(s) in detail (including validity, reliability). Is blinding applied (for caregivers, participants, outcome assessors) where relevant? • Plan for data collection: Who will collect what data, in what sequence, how, when? Include dummy tables for the data you plan to collect.

• Ethical considerations: State how you intend to follow ethical rules (e.g., informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality, risks, care of vulnerable groups).

Above all, make sure your reader understands how the methodology and data sources you have chosen are appropriate to your specific topic and aims.

  1. The Conclusion section should contain the following:

• The ‘strengths and limitations of the study’: a) What makes your study better than earlier studies? b) What are the limiting factors in your study that may affect the possibility of generalizing your results? Is your sample size small? Are there confounding variables that might affect the cause-effect relationship? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, explain the reason and how such factor might affect the quality of your study.

• Address the “So What?” of this research. Why does what you are investigating matter as more than an academic exercise? Why should your audience want to read it? What real-world implications might arise from your study’s findings?

Author contributions, following CRediT guidelines (see below), should follow the conclusion section.

  1. In-text citations and a References section must follow AMA guidelines.

Formatting:

Body of final paper (not including title page, abstract, and works cited) must be 10-12 pages

Double-spaced, 12pt Times New Roman, 1” margins

AMA citation style; 10-15 peer-reviewed citations

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