By Neil Pearce Centre for Public Health Research Massey University
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Extra resources for A Short Introduction to Epidemiology 2nd Edition, 2005
Is social capital the key to inequalities in health? Am J Publ Health 93: 122-9. Wessen AF, Hooper A, Huntsman J, et al (1992). Migration and health in a small society: The case of Tokelau. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992, pp 318-57. Pearce NE, Weiland S, Keil U, et al (1993). Self-reported prevalence of asthma symptoms in children in Australia, England, Germany and New Zealand: an international comparison using the ISAAC protocol. Eur Resp J 6: 1455-61. Wilkinson RG (1992). Income distribution and life expectancy.
A second factor that can affect precision, given a fixed total study size, is the relative size of the reference group (the unexposed group in a cohort study, or the controls in a case-control study). e. 0), and the costs (of recruitment, data collection, etc) of index and reference subjects are the same, then a 1:1 ratio is most efficient for a given total study size. When exposure increases the risk of the outcome, or referents are cheaper to include in the study than index subjects, then a larger ratio may be more efficient.
Usually, a study only involves one sample, but the standard error can be estimated by dividing the standard deviation of the sample by the square root of the number of people in the sample. Data can be summarized in various forms, including frequency tables, histograms, bar charts, cross-tabulations and pie charts. However, it is usually also useful to give a summary measure of central tendency. The mean (or average) is the most commonly used measure of central tendency, because of its convenient statistical properties.