• Kate A. McBrideEmail author
  • Felix Ogbo
  • Andrew Page
Reference work entry


Epidemiology is the core discipline underlying health research. Measuring health, identifying causes of ill health, and intervening to improve health are all key tenets of the discipline. Concerned with the “who,” “when,” “why,” and “where” of health, epidemiology is essential in informing clinical decision-making through evidence-based medicine. Traditionally the study of the occurrence and distribution of disease and determinants, epidemiology is a dynamic discipline that is increasingly being applied in differing disciplines, even beyond health. This chapter is designed as a basic introduction to epidemiology, the terminology used, and the principles in epidemiologic practice. Using public health as a framework, this chapter will also give an overview of both the traditional and more contemporary applications of epidemiology.


Measures of association Prevalence Incidence Observational study Experimental study Cohort Case control Cross sectional Randomized controlled trial Ecological study Random error Systematic error Confounding Selection bias Measurement error 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Medicine and Translational Health Research InstituteWestern Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Medicine and Translational Health Research InstituteWestern Sydney UniversityCampbelltownAustralia

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