Epidemiological Methods for Studying Determinants of Health 2015

‘Time flies fast when you’re having fun.’

The phrases above might as well reflected my time here at KI. It felt just like yesterday when I first arrived in Stockholm but now I’m already in the middle of my second semester – the spring semester.

For us, the spring semester was started with the second epidemiology course: Epidemiological Methods for Studying Determinants of Health. Throughout this course, we learned different types of epidemiological study designs (cohort, case control, cross-sectional, etc), concept of bias and confounding, stratified analysis, interaction, effect modification, and a glimpse of systematic review. Typically, we would have lectures in the morning and group work about the same topic in the afternoon or by the end of the week.

Besides lectures and group work, from the very start of the course, we had been given instructions on how to do our individual assignment (a big one) and the final take home exam. For the individual assignment, we were supposed to criticize and compare two studies addressing the same research question but with different study designs. The studies were pre-assigned to us, but we could always find the ones that might suit our interests. My papers were about socioeconomic status and testicular cancer – a topic of which I was not familiar with ^^’ But anyway, since I was too lazy didn’t mind working on that papers, I didn’t bother to change them 😛 The good thing about this assignment was there was a clear timeline on when we were supposed to hand in our progress and there would be a teacher assigned to give feedback to our work. It was really nice and helpful to have a personalized feedback like this (although it might take times for the teachers since there were lots of us ^^’ ), but I think, and I believe most of my friends will agree, that we could learn a lot this way.

Regarding the take home exam, I usually heard from my friends that when you had a take home exam, the questions and answers would usually be uploaded on the same day (i.e. you would be given certain hours on the same day to finish the exam). That’s why I was rather surprised to find out that the questions had been given on the first week of the course and we were given until the end of the course to submit the answers. However, it’s always better to start early and tried to answer the questions as soon as we got the lectures on that topic. That way, it became easier to review and remember what we have learned in the class. Although I was not always succeeding in applying this method, I eventually managed to finish the exam earlier than expected. Probably the prospect of cruising to Tallinn at the end of the course had motivated me better than any other things 😛 hehehe

All in all, I was pleased with the way the teachers and students worked together in this course. True, this course had made me realized how complex epidemiology is, but throughout this course, I also learned a lot, especially in developing skills such as critical thinking, which might be important for us all 🙂

See you in the next post!


P.S. Following Laura‘s path, here’s the overview for the courses we had on the 1st semester (Autumn 2014) 😉 :

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