School of Public Health


EPI 514 Application Of Epidemiologic Methods (5)

Practical experience in analysis of data. Students analyze data sets currently on file using contemporary epidemiologic methods as taught in EPI 512 and EPI 513. Prerequisite: EPI 510 or experience in statistical programming; EPI 512, EPI 513, and epidemiology major. Offered: Sp.

Spring 2021

Line Number Section ID Credits Days/Times Room/Bldg Instructor
14351A5.0Tuesday, Thursday @ 1:30pm - 3:20pmN/AAlyson Littman
14352AAWednesday @ 2:30pm - 3:20pmN/AAlyson Littman
For a complete listing of Epidemiology courses, their elective categories, and when they are typically offered, please see the Epidemiology Course Planning Sheet

Additional Course Details

The purpose of EPI 514 is to give graduate students in epidemiology the opportunity to gain “hands-on” experience analyzing data to answer a specific research question. Methods and theoretical issues introduced in EPI 512-513 will be covered again to some extent; however, our focus is on practical analysis issues with actual data, rather than on further theoretical discussion. Students work in small groups (2-3) on separate research topics, with each group using a different dataset that we provide.  Data come from Washington State birth certificates, hospitalization records, and death certificates.  Prerequisites of the course are EPI 510, 512 and 513 and enrollment in the Epidemiology Program. With instructor permission, EPI 510 may be waived for students with sufficient statistical computing experience.    

Topics Covered

  • Proposal writing
  • Conducting searches of the literature
  • Stratified analysis
  • Confounding
  • Effect modification
  • Data linkage
  • Data quality
  • Missing data
  • Manuscript writing
  • Formatting and content of tables and figures
  • Presenting posters
  • Oral presentations
  • Data visualization
  • Manuscript submission process
  • Manuscript/peer review

Learning Objectives

  • Search scientific literature to identify relevant reports of epidemiologic and other studies related to a research topic, and biologic or other rationale to test a research hypothesis.
  • Formulate focused research questions and hypotheses that can be answered using data available for class.
  • Calculate statistical power/sample size for a case-control or cohort study of a focused research question.  Identify the most appropriate statistical calculation (minimum detectable relative risk/odds ratio, available statistical power, etc.) and present that information in a table with accompanying text as would be appropriate for a grant proposal.
  • Identify and list potential confounders and effect modifiers of a disease/outcome-exposure association, while considering issues of data quality and availability, prior published or clinical knowledge, and sample size/power.
  • Develop a written proposal, including specific aims, background and significance, study design, innovation, sample size/power calculations, and limitations.
  • Conduct computer programming necessary to prepare a data file for analyses including data cleaning (checking ranges, missing values, etc.) and basic file management (categorizing variables, etc.) necessary for stratified analyses.
  • Perform exploratory data programming necessary to present basic descriptive tables comparing categorical variables between two or more study groups. •    Analyze data to evaluate associations to estimate odds ratios and relative risks.  
  • Estimate risk estimates and/or rates for a disease/outcome-exposure association, evaluate confounding and effect modification, and identify the most appropriately adjusted or stratified presentation of risk estimates to answer a research question
  • Identify and describe the limitations of epidemiological analyses (e.g. related to data quality and availability, statistical power, etc.) for answering a research question.
  • Organize and display research findings in standard tabular and/or graphical formats used in epidemiologic journals.
  • Present final study results in the format of a scientific paper for publication including an abstract, introduction, methods, results, and discussion of findings.
  • Integrate and correctly format scientific references in a scientific paper for publication.
  • Develop and present a scientific poster or oral presentation of study results.
  • Provide constructive feedback to peers on an epidemiologic analysis and presentation.

Course Format

  • Lectures, small group sessions, computer lab    
  • How You Will Be Evaluated
  • Participation
  • Problem set
  • Research proposal
  • Paper draft
  • Final paper
  • Oral or poster presentation

Contact the Instructors

Alyson Littman (
Stephen Hawes (