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Designing an observational study encompasses a variety of activities, such as: 

  • Determining the research questions of their study 
  • Defining the purpose of their study 
  • Identifying independent and dependent variables in their study 
  • Determining the variable measurement 
  • Establishing the study participants 
  • Determining the justification of cases and control 
  • Determining measures of association for their study 

There are many different types of observational studies. Each type of study may require that you apply these activities in a different way. It is important for you to understand each activity and how to apply them. 

In this Discussion, you will propose a design for an observational study around a health problem. Within your design, you will consider the variables, participants, and design. 

To prepare for this Discussion: 

  • Review the comparisons of observational study designs provided in Table 7–7, on pages 317-318, in your Friis and Sellers (2021) text. Pay particular attention to the advantages and disadvantages of case-control and cohort studies.
  • Review the Helpful Hints for Study Designs: Chapters 6 and 7 document in this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Refer to the health issue you selected in Week 1.
  • Determine a research question about the health issue that you have selected.
  • Consider how you might design an observational study (case-control study or cohort study) that could answer the research question.
    Note: Not all research questions can be answered with an observational study design. You may need to revise your question to align with the observational study design. 

By Day 4

Post a comprehensive observational study design proposal for your chosen topic. Your answer should include your responses to the following questions: 

  • State your research question, and identify whether it is a case-control study or cohort study.
  • Explain what you hope to learn from your proposed observational study.
  • Identify your independent (exposure) and dependent (outcome; health issue) variables. Note: You may have more than one independent variable for a case-control study and more than one dependent variable for a cohort study.
  • Explain how you will measure your variables.
  • Identify the participants of your proposed observational study. Be as specific as possible regarding their characteristics.
  • If you chose a case-control study design, explain your selection criteria for cases and controls. Justify why you selected a case-control study design. Identify the measure of association for your study.
  • If you chose a cohort study, explain the type of cohort study you have selected. Justify why you selected a cohort study design. Identify the measure of association for your study.