Public Health Methodology. We take it seriously!

– How many epidemiologists does it take to change a light bulb?

– Six. One to change it and five to critique the methods.

This made me laugh out loud. Methodology in Public Health is not a straightforward matter. It requires creativity, critical thinking, flexibility; but each method is bound to have limitations as well as advantages, which makes criticism almost inevitable, however well-applied the method might be.

Here at the International Journal of Public Health, we are very keen on methodology issues and we can prove it! We have a whole separate section called “Hints and Kinks” :

Hints and Kinks are short methodological reports (1000 words max., no abstract) presenting topics relevant in survey research and surveillance. They report on experiences with techniques in a variety of areas and topics, such as writing questions, questionnaire design, survey implementation, or new and original ways to show results.
Some recently published articles in this section include:

Marginal Structural Models: unbiased estimation for longitudinal studies

Using Directed Acyclic Graphs to detect limitations of traditional regression in longitudinal studies

Analysis of socioeconomic health inequalities using the concentration index

From measures of effects to measures of potential impact

What other methodology issues would you like to see addressed? What have been your personal experiences in dealing with difficult or novel methodology questions! Please share!

* I borrowed the light bulb joke from this article by Richard M. Grimes.  A list of 759 (!) light bulb jokes can be found here .

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