Chapter Resources

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Public Health Research Methods

Chapter 2: Designing Research

    • Web Resources
    • Cochrane Library: Website for the Cochrane Library that contains a collection of databases of evidence to inform decision making, including systematic reviews and clinical register of controlled trials, among others.
    • Institute of Medicine: Website for the IOM, an independent non-profit group that provides evidence to inform health decisions. Many studies conducted by the IOM are mandates from Congress.
    • Measuring Success Toolkit: Link to a toolkit produced by the Measurement, Learning & Evaluation Project that provides guidance on how to use data to plan health programs and to measure its success.
    • The National Center for Health Statistics: Website for NCHS where US statistics are compiled; data sets are also available.
    • National Institutes of Health: Part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, NIH is the country’s medical research agency.

Chapter 3: Research Ethics and Working with Institutional Review Boards

Chapter 4: Community Engagement in Public Health Research

Chapter 5: Public Health Surveillance and Research: From Data to Action

    • Web Resources
    • BRFSS
      The US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, collecting information on behaviors and prevention activities
    • MMWR
      Website for CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, disseminating notifiable disease surveillance data
    • WHO
      World Health Organization guidelines for surveillance
      World Health Organization (WHO) STEPwise approach to surveillance (STEPS)
    • WHO Dengue Surveillance
      WHO global atlas of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever
    • WONDER
      A user-friendly query system providing public health information on births, deaths, cancer incidence, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, vaccinations, and census data
    • US National Vital Statistics
      Data on births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and fetal deaths from all 50 states, two cities (Washington, DC, and New York City) and five territories (Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)
    • FDA Adverse Event Surveillance
      Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) website
    • Guidelines for defining public health research and public health non-research
      Useful guidance for determining when a data collection activity constitutes research
    • The Belmont Report
      This webpage compiled by the National Institutes of Health summarizes the basic ethics principles identified by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research
    • Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Part 46
      Regulations affecting research conducted by federal agencies

Chapter 6: Outbreak Investigation

Chapter 7: Cohort and Case Control Studies

Chapter 8: Designing Randomized Controlled Trials

    • Web Resources
      Research document developed for the UK National Health Service to explain key features of clinical trial sample size determination with detailed formulae and examples for common trial designs. Document contains references and electronic links to other sources and free software programs.
      PS (Power and Sample Size Calculation) is an interactive program sponsored by Vanderbilt University Department of Statistics for performing power and sample size calculations that may be downloaded for free. It can be used for studies with dichotomous, continuous, or survival response measures. The alternative hypothesis of interest may be specified either in terms of differing response rates, means, or survival times, or in terms of relative risks or odds ratios. Studies with dichotomous or continuous outcomes may involve either a matched or independent study design. The program can determine the sample size needed to detect a specified alternative hypothesis with the required power, the power with which a specific alternative hypothesis can be detected with a given sample size, or the specific alternative hypotheses that can be detected with a given power and sample size.
      Existing efficacy-related guidelines from the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH). These guidelines are concerned with the design, conduct, safety, and reporting of clinical trials for pharmaceutical agents and medical devices.  This efficacy section of ICH also covers novel types of medicines derived from biotechnological processes and the use of pharmacogenetics/ pharmacogenomics techniques to produce better targeted medicines.
      Free NIH-division sponsored course for Good Clinical Practices training for individuals involved in human subjects’ research. User may need to set up a free NIH External account.
    • is a registry and results database maintained by NIH of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. Site contains training links about clinical studies and the research process. The aims (objectives), subject population, outcome measures and design, and results (if completed) are reported for individual studies conducted in the US (or that might be included in a US regulatory submission) since 1997.
      Free educational materials about clinical trials provided by the Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research at NIH.

Chapter 9: Using Secondary Data

Chapter 10: Economics of Population Health

    • Web Resources
    • UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) website
      NICE provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care. This website outlines the NICE Public Health Reference case. This chapter provides guidance on how the health economic evidence from public health interventions should be collated and analysed.
    • PHRSN workshop- Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Population health Interventions: Conceptual and Practical Challenges
    • GCPH GOWELL Website
      GoWell is a research and learning programme that aims to investigate the impact of investment in housing, regeneration and neighbourhood renewal on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities over a ten-year period.  The programme aims to establish the nature and extent of these impacts, to learn about the relative effectiveness of different approaches, and to inform policy and  practice in Scotland and beyond. The GOWELL project contains an economic evaluation.
      The website contains information on the programme's different research components, links to the latest GoWell findings, summary information, and information about the study areas. All GoWell publications including reports, briefing papers, newsletters and working papers can be downloaded from the publications section, along with a full list of published journal articles. Information on past and future events and presentations is also provided.
    • NHS Health Development Agency Briefing Paper: Economic appraisal of public health interventions
    • NHS Economic Evaluation Database
      NHS EED (NHS Economic Evaluation Database) focuses primarily on the economic evaluation of health care interventions and aims to help decision makers interpret an increasingly complex and technical literature. Economic evaluations are studies in which a comparison of two or more interventions or care alternatives is undertaken and in which both the costs and outcomes of the alternatives are examined. This includes cost-benefit analyses, cost-utility analyses, and cost-effectiveness analyses. Each week extensive literature searches are undertaken to identify relevant economic evaluations. Full details of the search strategies are available on request (
      The citations are assessed by experienced health economists and classified by study design. As soon as a study is identified as meeting the inclusion criteria, brief details are published on the database and the study is prioritized for abstract writing.

Chapter 11: Health Services Research

Chapter 12: Survey Design and Implementation

Chapter 13: Scale Development and Validation

Chapter 14: Social Network Analysis. Methods and Applications in Public Health

Chapter 15: Qualitative Research Methods

    • Web Resources
    • Qualitative Research
      Trochim’s Research Methods Knowledge Base, provides a well written review of qualitative research methods and how it related to quantitative research.

Chapter 16: Randomized Controlled Trials for Psychosocial Interventions

    • Web Resources
    • The Cochrane Collaboration
      The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of people who conduct systematic reviews in the area of healthcare. On this website one can find a number of relevant reviews to public health, some of which are of psychosocial interventions. Many of these reviews contain or are limited to RCTS.
    • The Campbell Collaboration
      Paralleling the Cochrane, the Campbell Collaboration conducts systematic reviews in the areas of education, crime and justice, social welfare and international development. On this website one can access a number of systematic reviews of topics relevant to public health and as with the Cochrane many of these reviews contain or are limited to RCT studies.
    • The CONSORT - Transparent Reporting of Trials
      CONSORT stands for Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials is a group that is trying to alleviate problems from inadequate reporting of trials. On this website is the statement of what needs to be contained in the reporting of an RCT as well as downloadable forms that can be completed by investigators for reporting of RCTs. For example a flow chart of sampling and recruitment of subjects is available.
    • Registry of RCTs
      This site enables individuals to share information about ongoing RCTs. The access to the information on the site is free, although there are costs for registering an RCT. One can search by topic on this site.
    • Summer Institute on RCTs for Behavioral Interventions
      This website can provide information such as eligibility, costs, etc of the annual summer workshop on RCTs for Behavioral Interventions sponsored by the National Institute of Health, Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research.

Chapter 17: Sampling: The Foundation of Good Research

Chapter 18: Statistical Methods in Public Health Research

    • Web Resources
    • Online Statistics Education: An Interactive Multimedia Course of Study
      An online basic applied statistics book, complete with simulated examples, compiled by faculty members from Rice University, University of Houston Clear Lake, and Tufts University.
    • A New View of Statistics
      An introduction to basic statistical concepts from Australian sports scientist Will G. Hopkins.
    • UCLA Statistical Consulting Classes and Workshops
      Online repository of past classes and workshops from UCLA on basic uses of standard statistical software (SPSS, Stata, SAS, R, and more).
    • Designing Clinical Research
      The online resource for the textbook by Hulley, Cummings, Browner, Grady, and Newman. Includes a validated tool for calculating sample size for studies of various types of design.
    • Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Clinical Research
      National Institutes of Health website containing presentations regarding the design and conduct of clinical research studies.
    • The CONSORT Statement
      CONSORT, which stands for Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials, encompasses various initiatives developed by the CONSORT Group to alleviate the problems arising from inadequate reporting of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
    • The STROBE Statement
      STROBE stands for an international, collaborative initiative of epidemiologists, methodologists, statisticians, researchers and journal editors involved in the conduct and dissemination of observational studies, with the common aim of STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology.

Chapter 20: Geographic Information Systems in Public Health

    • Web Resources
    • Esri Health and Human Services Industry Website
      Esri is an industry leader with their ArcGIS suite of desktop and internet -based geospatial software. This site provides links to extensive information and resources on health and human services applications for GIS, including data, documentation, lectures, tutorials, newsletters, mailing lists, and web applications.
    • Free GIS Data
      Compiled by Robin Wilson at the University of Southampton, this site provides a categorized and annotated list of 300 links to sources of free and open source GIS data on the world wide web. It is a good starting place to assess the availability of GIS data across disciplines for conceptualizing multi-disciplinary research questions.
    • Geography Network Canada
      An online repository for Canadian geospatial data from local, provincial, and federal government agencies in Canada, including important baseline data for built environment analyses such as administrative boundaries, parks, road networks, dwellings, and demographic information.
    • Government of Canada Geogratis
      Geogratis provides an extensive raster and vector collection of free Canadian geospatial data, searchable by geographic location, subject keyword, and data type. Satellite imagery and data are archived according to time series, facilitating accurate combinations with historical data sets.
    • National Atlas of the United States
      The National Atlas indexes datasets in diverse areas such as administrative boundaries, demography, transportation, biology, agriculture, climate, and environmental indicators for the United States, encompassing the national, regional, state, and local scales.
    • PreventionWeb
      Prevention Web serves the geospatial needs of the international disaster risk reduction community by providing current information on disaster risks, prevention infrastructures, and hazards throughout the world. Administered through the United Nations, the site includes query building functionality to examine natural hazard data directly on the website.
    • URISA: The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association
      URISA, or the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, is a multidisciplinary North American organization of geospatial students and professionals that hosts international conferences and provides local workshops and networking events. It also hosts the GIS Management Institute, to facilitate best practices and standards in emerging areas of GIS research and practice.

Chapter 21: Public Health 2.0: Fresh Approaches to Old Problems

Chapter 22: Enhancing Research Utilization

Chapter 23: Implementation Science-Identifying the Path from Innovation to Impact

    • Web Resources
    • Journal of Implementation Science
      This peer-reviewed online journal publishes studies of methods to promote the uptake of research findings into routine healthcare in clinical, organisational or policy contexts.
    • Impact Evaluation in Practice
      The World Bank has developed an excellent guide to implementing rigorous policy evaluations in “real world” settings. The book, Impact Evaluation in Practice, is freely accessible online. It includes examples of survey questionnaires, research budgets, and report templates.
    • Impact Evaluation Toolkit
      This World Bank website offers practical guidance and videos explaining how to design rigorous evaluations of programs, practices, and policies. It includes advice and tools for collecting, storing and analyzing evaluation data and monitoring program performance during and after the evaluation.
    • Dissemination and Implementation Research
      The U.S. National Institutes of Health maintains a website on implementation research in health, including links to funding opportunities and conferences.
    • Implementation Matters
      A particularly comprehensive review of program implementation (and the interaction of implementation with program outcomes) is this highly cited 2008 article by Durlak and DuPre. (doi: 10.1007/s10464-008-9165-0)
    • Behavioral Design
      An overview of the role of human behavior in the design of policy or implementation strategies, written through the lens of behavioral economics.
    • Mechanism Experiments and Policy Evaluations
      This article describes the use of “mechanism experiments” to evaluate public policies (and other interventions) in real world settings. Mechanism experiments are akin to implementation experiments, enabling researchers to test which features of the implementation environment (i.e., implementation variables) influence the outcomes of public policies or programs.
    • American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
      Because implementation science is highly multi-disciplinary, much of the current research can be found in journals of applied economics, public health, political science, and psychology. The American Economic Journal: Applied Economics series is one example, as it contains many studies in implementation science across public health, education, and other sectors.

Authors: Greg Guest and Emily E. Namey

Pub Date: March 2014

Pages: 832

Learn more about this book