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Preparing Your Descriptive Epidemiology Paper

Select a health problem to explore in detail by using a descriptive  epidemiologic approach. For examples of health problems or diseases that  might be studied, refer to the lists below.

  • Search for data on the health problem from one or more of the following sources
    • Morbidity and mortality reports (vital statistics): World Health  Organization and international reports; U.S. federal, state, and local  annual and periodic reports
    • Current literature on the selected health problem
    • Reports of special surveys
  • Assess the problem. Briefly evaluate the agent and the condition.  Examine the sources noted above for data on morbidity and mortality in  the selected health problem.
  • Summarize these data on the distribution of the selected health  problem according to the following factors using tables, graphs, or  other illustrations pertaining to quantitative and qualitative data. 
    • Host characteristics such as age, gender, marital status, and ethnic group
    • Environmental attributes such as geographic areas, social and economic factors, occupation, and education
    • Any additional characteristics that contributes to an epidemiologic description of the disease, including biostatistical data.
  • Summarize any current hypotheses that have been proposed to explain  the observed distribution. List the principal gaps in knowledge about  the distribution of the health problem.
  • Propose areas for further epidemiologic research, and critically appraise the data as a whole.

Communicable Diseases

  • AIDS
  • Botulism
  • Cholera
  • Dengue fever
  • Encephalitis, anthropod-borne
  • Hepatitis A, B, or C
  • Influenza
  • Malaria
  • Moningococcal meningitis
  • Mononucleosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory streptococcal infection
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Typhoid
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Chronic and Other Conditions

  • Alcoholism
  • Asthma
  • Cancer (breast, cervical, prostate)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (stroke)
  • Diabetes mellitus: Type I or Type II
  • Emphysema, bronchitis
  • Essential hypertension
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity epidemic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Suicides



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