This study design is generally used to assess the prevalence of a disease in a population. Ecological studies are used when data at an individual level is unavailable, or large-scale comparisons are needed to study the population-level effect of exposures on a disease condition.
When should you do an ecological study?
Ecological studies are often used to measure prevalence and incidence of disease, particularly when disease is rare. … Also, because they are area-level studies, care must be taken when extrapolating either to individuals within the area level of measurement, or to a higher population level.
What is an advantage of conducting an ecologic study?
Ecological studies are particularly useful for generating hypotheses since they can use existing data sets and rapidly test the hypothesis. The advantages of the ecological studies include the large number of people that can be included in the study and the large number of risk-modifying factors that can be examined.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of ecological study?
Ecological studies are therefore usually cheap and easy to perform. However, data are unlikely to be collected for all members of the group of people—the unit of analysis. Thus, when the data are aggregated across the unit of analysis in an ecological study, the outcome measures are likely to be inadequate or biased.
What are the differences between an ecological study and a cross-sectional study?
An ecological study is one where you take values of a variable for an entire population, the outcome from that population, and use that to draw inference. A cross-sectional study is where you look at individuals within a population at a single point in time.
What would be an example of an ecological study?
Examples of the use of ecological studies include: Correlating population disease rates with factors of interest, such as healthcare use. Demonstrating changes in mortality over time (time series) Comparing the prevalence of a disease between different regions at a single point in time (geographical studies)
What is a ecological epidemiological study?
Ecological epidemiology is the study of the ecology of infectious diseases. It includes population and community level studies of the interactions between hosts and their pathogens and parasites, and covers diseases of both humans and wildlife.
What is the type of ecologic study design?
There are three main types of ecologic study designs: cross-sectional ecologic studies, time-trend ecologic studies, and solely descriptive ecologic studies. Cross-sectional ecologic studies compare aggregate exposures and outcomes over the same time period.
What are individual level studies?
Ecolog- ical studies examine correlations between aggregate indices at a higher level of analysis (e.g., prevalence of cigarette smoking by states); individual-level studies examine the impact of policies on individual reports of behavior.
Why are ecological studies weak?
Compared to case control studies
In the case of the ecological study design, the obvious weakness is that data is based on groups rather than individuals. In other words, the ecological study provides group exposure and group response without knowing what any individual exposure-response was.
Why are ecological studies important?
It provides new knowledge of the interdependence between people and nature that is vital for food production, maintaining clean air and water, and sustaining biodiversity in a changing climate.
What are epidemiological studies?
By definition, epidemiology is the study (scientific, systematic, and data-driven) of the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of health-related states and events (not just diseases) in specified populations (neighborhood, school, city, state, country, global).
Are ecologic studies retrospective or prospective?
However, because these studies collect data after disease has already occurred, they are considered retrospective, which is a limitation.