Critical analysis of a research article in epidemiology

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Critical analysis of a research article in epidemiology

The following questions are guide to your essay as these points should be addressed. These are all epidemiological concepts that we covered in the course but you are free to arrange them differently under sub-heading or stick to question answer format if you find it difficult.

1) Overview of the paper you selected.

-What is the issue addressed in the paper, is it important novel?

– What was the exposure or intervention? -What was the outcome?

-What was the study design?

-What was the study population?

-What were the main findings? Were the authors advise for future direction or about the study implication

Critical analysis of a research article in epidemiology

2) Appraise the internal validity –

To what extent can the observed association between the exposure and outcome be attributed to non-causal explanations? Consider the following questions in your critique: -Are the results clearly presented? Are the results likely to be affected by chance variation?  -Are the results likely to be affected by biases, what kind of biases ? are the results likely to be affected by confounding;  has any interaction or sub-group analysis was conducted

 3) Do you believe a causal association between exposure and outcome is plausible? This is based on your conclusion on internal validity but also appraisal of possible causal association based on several criteria

4) Appraise the external validity of the finding: can the findings be applied to the source population from which the study population was derived? -Can the study results be applied to other relevant populations? Appraise the overall quality of the discussion section.


Critical analysis of a research article in epidemiology

Your paper should be around 2,500 ±300 words- Please ensure that your assignment complies with the following formatting specifications. Assignments that do not comply with these specifications will not be marked.

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Graphics:                   Graphics (pictures, diagrams etc) may be included in the                                          response if contained within the word limits provided.

Tables:                        Tabulated information may be included if contained within the page limits provided.

References:                APA6 . Attach references as a separate page at the end of your Assignment. Reference list is not included within page limits. It is recommended to use at least 5 references that are not related to course materials

Expert Partial Solution 

Overview of the Article

The purpose of Byrne et al. (2007) study was to replicate the findings of other studies on obstetric complications and their association with the risk of schizophrenia. The study also aimed at assessing whether this association could be explained by confounding variables including socioeconomic status of parents, age of parents, maternal citizenship, urban place of birth, and psychiatric illness in the family history. Some studies indicate that obstetric complications can be significant contributors to the existence of schizophrenia (Rund, Teigset, and Mohn, 2018). Other studies also show that obstetric complications can be caused by the early onset of infections before or after conception takes place. This would mean that control of obstetric complications would not reduce the existence of schizophrenia (Stochl et al., 2017). Therefore, this study was significant to assess other variables which may also contribute to obstetric complications and their association with schizophrenia.

This research study was worth carrying out since there are very few studies which have investigated all the confounding factors mentioned above. It is also a remarkable study since it examines a critical concern that happens in many communities and countries, hence its findings could be significant in designing strategies and interventions for preventing and controlling both schizophrenic conditions and obstetric complications. With the use of Danish longitudinal registers, this study would investigate schizophrenia risk associated with a couple of events of obstetric complication, hence develop possible ways of combating them. There are many exposures whose outcome is schizophrenia risk (Buoli et al., 2016). These exposures were derived from the Danish longitudinal registers, which contained information of inpatients and outpatients in the Danish National Hospital. The vulnerabilities included maternal age, maternal citizenship, maternal wealth, psychiatric disorder history in the family, urban place of birth, and parental socio-economic status which was estimated using data on parental wealth at the time of delivery. These factors were assessed through analysis of registers, and the intended outcome was schizophrenia risk.

The study design, which was used in this study, was nested case-control study. This design was based on the records that were available in Danish National Hospital registers, which complied to the standards of the World’s Health Organization. The sample population for this study involved people over the age of 15 born between 1973 and 1983 and who had contacted a Danish psychiatric facility for the first time between 1981 and 1998. The characteristics of this sample population involved those who were born in Denmark and who had ICD-8 or ICD-10 schizophrenia diagnosis, as well as those who had known the maternal identity. Those who did not have these characteristics within the used registers did not fit to be included in the sample population. The total number of people who were identified to have schizophrenia were 1039 and where 99% had a link to their father and 35% were female. This data shows that male gender was more affected by schizophrenia as compared to the female gender. The study also had an individually matched control population which consisted of 24, 826 people. The mean age of the sample population was 19.8 years, and 97.5% of the total sample population were diagnosed with ICD-10, while 2.5% were diagnosed with ICD-8.

The findings of this study indicated a replication of other previous studies which show that there is a significant association between complications which occur during the period of pregnancy, during birth, and the puerperium and the risk of schizophrenia. This meant that any complication that arises anytime within the gestation period, at the time of giving birth, as well as post-partum, is a significant factor that puts the patient at risk of developing this mental disorder known as schizophrenia. Additionally, the study found out that the risk of schizophrenia was not explained by the sought factors which included the maternal citizenship, parental age, maternal wealth, socioeconomic status of parents, urban place of birth, and existence of psychiatric disorders in the family history. The study found out other factors which significantly influenced the risk of schizophrenia which included preeclampsia, bleeding during delivery, preterm birth below 37 weeks, maternal influenza, maternal sepsis, as well as manual extraction, and threatened premature delivery. However, the study did not indicate any concern for further directions nor implications of the study. The study concluded that considering the findings it brought out, as well as findings of other related studies, confirm that complications which occur, during pregnancy, during birth, and after delivery contribute significantly to the risk of schizophrenia. This is true following findings of a study carried out by Stochl et al. (2019) that showed that obstetric complications have an association with schizophrenia.

Appraisal of the Internal Validity

The results of the study have been well analyzed and presented in a clear and understandable way. However, analysis interpretation of the results required a person who is knowledgeable in sophisticated statistical methods. Additionally, chance variance is likely to affect the results because they only used information which was contained in the various registers alone. This means that a study which is carried on the same topic with similar research variables, some results would be found to be different. The results of the study showed that the sought factors such as family history on psychiatric disorders, parental age, maternal citizenship, maternal wealth, as well as the socio-economic status of parents did not have an impact on the risk of schizophrenia. However, many studies indicate that these factors have an effect on the occurrence of schizophrenia (Stochl et al., 2019). Therefore, other research studies which may use data from other sources apart from hospital registers may show that the sought variables in this study have an impact on schizophrenia risk….Read more

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Critical analysis of a research article in epidemiology

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