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Epidemiology term paper - halp!

AndeAnde Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I have a term paper to write for my epidemiology class. We were given possibly the most frustrating instructions ever on what it is we’re supposed to do.

‘The term assignment consists of the preparation and submission of a research grant proposal for an ORIGINAL* study. The proposal will consist of a short literature review, clearly outlined objective, detailed methodology and a short budget. The topic of the proposed research will be health- related, but is otherwise not restricted – studends are encouraged to choose a health problem (human or animal health) from their own area of stuffy or interest.’

This has to be an observational study, either cohort, case- control or cross-sectional. I can’t actually plan to ‘intervene’ in any way (ie. say who gets a treatment, who doesn’t). The idea is to try to find an association between an exposure and an outcome.


My problem is the ‘ORIGINAL’ part. I’m a fucking fourth year university student, you expect me to come up with an observational study that actual researchers haven’t though of? Not so much happening! The whole ‘read the literature and find a knowledge gap’ bullshit advice the prof gave us is … useless bullshit.

My area of interest would be horses, dogs, or exotic birds (parrots). I’ve tried stuff rare stuff like equine rabies, equine epilepsy, etc… but guess what! Lots of people have done studies on this stuff already!


… anyone have any ideas? Really, anything… halp!


(I should mention, it doesn’t have to be a disease specifically, it can be an injury for example.)

Ande on

Posts

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I think you're being a little defeatist. Original isn't really all that hard. Of course you're not going to come up with something completely new, but there should be plenty of potential studies that haven't yet been done, even if it's a variation on something that has been done. In scientific research nothing is really "original," it all builds off of something else.

    So look at existing studies for equine rabies--do the results of any of them raise any questions? For instance, if there's a study that shows a correlation between equine rabies and the vitamins they get (what the fuck do I know) then you could propose a study exploring that correlation. That's what "original" means in the academic world.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Ande wrote: »
    So I have a term paper to write for my epidemiology class. We were given possibly the most frustrating instructions ever on what it is we’re supposed to do.

    ‘The term assignment consists of the preparation and submission of a research grant proposal for an ORIGINAL* study. The proposal will consist of a short literature review, clearly outlined objective, detailed methodology and a short budget. The topic of the proposed research will be health- related, but is otherwise not restricted – studends are encouraged to choose a health problem (human or animal health) from their own area of stuffy or interest.’

    This has to be an observational study, either cohort, case- control or cross-sectional. I can’t actually plan to ‘intervene’ in any way (ie. say who gets a treatment, who doesn’t). The idea is to try to find an association between an exposure and an outcome.


    My problem is the ‘ORIGINAL’ part. I’m a fucking fourth year university student, you expect me to come up with an observational study that actual researchers haven’t though of?
    Not so much happening! The whole ‘read the literature and find a knowledge gap’ bullshit advice the prof gave us is … useless bullshit.

    My area of interest would be horses, dogs, or exotic birds (parrots). I’ve tried stuff rare stuff like equine rabies, equine epilepsy, etc… but guess what! Lots of people have done studies on this stuff already!


    … anyone have any ideas? Really, anything… halp!


    (I should mention, it doesn’t have to be a disease specifically, it can be an injury for example.)

    Nope, you just have to find one that nobody has already published.

    Think small. Does the failure rate of the canine lyme vaccine vary between breeds? Does the efficacy of an equine epilepsy treatment vary among the different types of horses? Does the failure rate of a particular bird vaccine vary between species? Is one type of treatment for equine epilepsy better than another in horses with comorbid heart failure?

    These are all made up, some of them may have been done. Pubmed is your friend. In general, the smaller the potential outcome of your study the less likely someone has already done it.

    Grab a late 2009 veterinary journal, read some studies, think of small additional things that could have been done. In general if they have been done they would have been mentioned.

    Kistra on
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