Guiding Questions for Appraising Epidemiologic Literature

Erick Suárez, Camille Moreno-Gorrín, Marievelisse Soto-Salgado, Mayra Vega, Ana P. Ortiz, Cynthia M. Pérez


Objective: Scientific findings need to be summarized for the better understanding of the community and for the development of the respective preventive actions that they espouse, suggest, or imply. The news media play a critical role in communicating health information to the public. Among chronic diseases, cancer receives a great deal of attention from the media, possibly because of its position as a leading cause of death. While the news media are vital to the dissemination of health information, one of the main information sources comes from epidemiological studies. Thus, it is important that health professionals interpret the results of these studies in order to efficiently communicate the results in a thorough and comprehensible manner. This special article aims to guide health professionals through the process of reading and interpreting the most relevant components of epidemiological literature. Methods: Guiding questions were prepared based on the main components of the aforementioned literature. Results: An abstract that was chosen from the available literature was used for the responses to the proposed guiding questions. Conclusion: We expect that reading the proposed questions will improve the communication and dissemination of epidemiological findings, thereby contributing to the understanding of the health problems of our community. Also, we expect the readers to visit the recommended web sites presented at the end of this document for more complete definitions of the epidemiological terms found herein.


guiding questions; epidemiology; mass media

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