Information resources for epidemiologists - textbooks
and other books
Over a decade ago there were already a large
("over 50", according to Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, Am J Epidemiol
2002;156:190)- and growing - number of introductory and intermediate epidemiology
textbooks. Books published prior to 1997 were reviewed by Bhopal RS (Which
book? A comparative review of 25 introductory epidemiology textbooks.
J Epidemiology Community Health 1997;51:612-622), who has now written
his own. Teaching epidemiology, a guide for teachers in epidemiology,
public health and clinical medicine (3rd ed., J. Olsen, R. Saracci,
and D. Trichopoulos, eds., NY, Oxford Univ, 2010 (website) has "much that
is thought provoking for dedicated teachers" (Elizabeth Barrett-Connor). Since Barrett-Connor
wrote her article, several new books have come out.
- Katherine M. Keyes, Sandro Galea, Epidemiology Matters: A New Introduction to Methodological Foundations. Oxford Univ Press, 2014
(Google Books preview)
- see also the authors Epidemiology Matters website
- Noel S. Weiss, Exercises in Epidemiology.
Oxford Univ Press, 2011 (website)
(Google Books preview)
- Schoenbach, Victor J. Understanding the fundamentals of epidemiology
- an evolving text. www.epidemiolog.net/evolving/
(Comprendiendo los fundamentos de la epidemiolgía - un texto en desarrollo, traducción al español por María Soledad Velázquez (www.epidemiolog.net/es/endesarrollo/ )
According to the author (yours truly),
this text is not evolving at the same pace as it did when he taught
the introductory course for epidemiology majors at the UNC School
of Public Health and definitely needs to evolve more. But it is available
as a free download.
The most recent significant revisions (to several chapters) were made
in April 2001. The text has now been translated into Spanish by María Soledad Velázquez.
- Pearce, Neil. A short introduction to epidemiology. Occasional
Report Series No 2 - Centre for Public Health Research, June 2003, Massey
University Wellington Campus, Wellington, New Zealand
A new 131-page digest of epidemiologic
concepts and methods, with a high degree of conceptual and methodologic
sophistication, as well as good illustrative examples. Available for
purchase or as a free
PDF download from the Massey University Centre for Public Health
Research. A set of teaching files to go with the book is available
- Saracci, Rodolfo. Epidemiology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, May 2010
- Friss, Robert H. and Thomas A. Sellers. Epidemiology for public health practice. 3 ed. Boston, Jones and Bartlett, 2004. ISBN: 0-7637-3170-6, 550pp. website
A book that combines modern terminology and methods with ample coverage of descriptive epidemiology and applied epidemiology. A very good introduction to the field for undergraduate and graduate students without previous exposure or who want to increase their knowledge of descriptive epidemiology and sources of data.
- Aschengrau, Ann, and George
R. Seage. Jones
and Bartlett, 3rd ed. 2014.
From the authors’ course at Boston
University School of Public Health. See publichealth.jbpub.com/aschengrau/
- Bhopal, Raj. Concepts of epidemiology - Integrating the ideas, theories, principles and methods of epidemiology. 2nd ed, 2008.
A very thoughtful book that emphasizes concepts rather than methods and promotes a broader awareness of the origins and role of epidemiology.
- Rothman, Kenneth J. Epidemiology - an introduction NY, Oxford
University Press, 2nd ed. 2012.
Ken Rothman's attempt to write a book for people who end up taking
only one epidemiology course in their life. Not surprisingly, this
book is receiving considerable attention - see interview with Rothman
in the Epidemiology Monitor, February 2002;23(2); review by
David Schottenfeld, Am J Epidemiol 2002 (July 15);156(2):188-190);
and review by Peter Layde in the Epidemiology Monitor July
2002;23(7):3-4. A companion website has
a downloadable spreadsheet for calculations (Episheet), a downloadable copy
of the chapter on causal inference, chapter questions, and discussion (and errata).
- Rothman, Kenneth J. and Sander Greenland. Modern
Epidemiology. 2nd ed. Hagerstown MD,
A revised, expanded edition of the highly-regarded
Rothman KJ. Modern Epidemiology (Boston, Little Brown, 1986),
this text provides one of the best expositions of the contemporary
formulation of epidemiologic concepts, many of which the authors have
helped to refine. This book is not recommended as an introductory
textbook, but those who already have another text and/or have taken
an introductory epidemiology course will find this book the most useful.
Since this book is one of the required texts for EPID268/EPID715 (Advanced Methods in Epidemiology), those of you planning to take that course
can purchase it early and have the use of it for EPID 168 as well.
Rothman and Greenland are two of the leading exponents of "modern" epidemiologic concepts and methods. (Rothman also provides a list of errata and a set of spreadsheets for analysis of epidemiologic data, EpiSheet.) Note that Modern Epidemiology has since come out with a 3rd edition.
- Gordis, Leon. Epidemiology.
2nd ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2000, paperback (ISBN 0-7216-8338-X)
A very well-illustrated and clearly presented book by a master teacher
who for many years has taught epidemiology at Johns Hopkins and edited
the American Journal of Epidemiology.
- Kleinbaum, David G., Kevin M. Sullivan,
and Nancy D. Barker.
and Companion Textbook.
Distributed by Springer, NY, NY.
ActivEpi is a collection of innovative tools for learning epidemiology.
It consists of the ActivEpi CD-ROM and the ActivEpi Companion Textbook.
The CD-ROM provides a multi-media learner interactive course on epidemiology.
The Companion Textbook contains all the textual material from the CD-ROM.
[from the website description]
The ActivEpi website
links to a large collection of sample lessons, PowerPoint slides, and
- Oleckno, William A. Essential
epidemiology: principles and applications Prospect Heights, IL,
Waveland Press, 2002. ISBN 1-57766-216-4
paperback. 366 pages.
According to the publisher, this book is designed to appeal to a
broad range of undergraduate and graduate students in the health professions
and includes step-by-step solutions to numerical problems.
- Szklo, Moyses and F. Javier
Nieto. Epidemiology: beyond the basics. Gaithersburg MD, Aspen,
2000 (ISBN: 0-8342-0618-8, 320 pages) website.
Traducción al español: Epidemiologia Intermedia: Conceptos
y Aplicaciones, Diaz de Santos, Madrid, 2003. website (vea Libros)
According to the review by Robert McKeown in the Epidemiology
Monitor (January 2000;21:10,13), this intermediate level text
is an "ideal" complement to Epidemiology, by Leon Gordis. Strong
points, according to McKeown, are the clarity of treatment of age-period-cohort
analysis, sampling strategies for case-control studies, and matching;
the discussions of estimation of measures of disease occurrence, meaning
and context of measures of association, the kappa statistic, and the
distinction between confounding and effect modification; and the inclusion
of many, relevant real-life examples.
- Hennekens, Charles H. and Julie E. Buring. Edited by Sherry L. Mayrent.
Epidemiology in Medicine. Boston, Little Brown, 1987. 1st ed.
A very well-organized, clear and readable treatment of current epidemiologic
concepts and terminology. The book covers most of the material in
EPID 168. The book is not coextensive with the course, however, omitting
several topics and many nuances.
- Timmreck T. An introduction to epidemiology. 2 ed, Boston,
Jones and Barlett, 1998
Written as an introductory text for an undergraduate course.
- Kelsey, Jennifer L., W. Douglas Thompson, and Alfred S. Evans. Methods
in observational epidemiology. NY, Oxford, 1986. WA 950 K29M
Covers the general range of epidemiologic concepts. Includes chapters
on sources of routinely collected data on disease, epidemic investigation,
sampling and sample size estimation, and questionnaire design.
- Kleinbaum, David G., Lawrence L. Kupper, and Hal Morgenstern. Epidemiologic
research: principles and quantitative methods. Lifetime Learning
Publications, Belmont, California, 1982. WA950 K64e 1982. (on reserve)
Developed as a textbook for EPID 268, Advanced Epidemiologic Methods.
Though advanced, certain chapters ("Fundamentals of epidemiologic
research", "Types of epidemiologic research", and others listed in
the lecture notes are useful to students in EPID 168.
- Mausner, Judith S. and Shira Kramer. Mausner & Bahn Epidemiology:
an introductory text. W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, 1985. WA100 M459?
Provides a systematic coverage of basic concepts and is particularly
helpful for understanding semi-quantitative ones such as measures
of disease and evaluation of screening tests. It is somewhat easier
to understand than MacMahon and Pugh, and has problems and answers
following each chapter. A survey of 22 introductory epidemiology courses
(published in the Epidemiology Monitor) several years ago reported
that Mausner and Kramer was the text in 15.
- Morton, Richard F.; J. Richard Hebel, Robert J. McCarter. A study
guide to epidemiology and biostatistics. 4 ed. Aspen, Fredrick MD,
Includes a chapter on how to systematically examine a journal article.
- Stolley, Paul D., Tamar Lasky. Investigating disease patterns:
the science of epidemiology. NY: Scientific American Library (WH
Has a very good overview of the history and development of the field,
ample background on the biology of the disease, and excellent illustrations.
A beautifully-done book.
- Lilienfeld, David E. and Paul D. Stolley. Foundations of epidemiology.
3rd ed. Oxford, New York, 1994.
This is a new edition of a classic textbook by Abraham M. Lilienfeld
and his son David. Abe Lilienfeld, who passed away during the 1980's,
is regarded as one of the great American epidemiologists.
- MacMahon, Brian and Dimitrios Trichopolous. Epidemiology: Principles
& Methods. 2nd ed. Boston, Little, Brown, 1996, ISBN 0-316-54222-9)
This is the second edition of a classic textbook by MacMahon and
Thomas F. Pugh. A particular strength of this book and its predecessor
are the extensive presentation of descriptive epidemiologic studies
over the years.
- Norell, Staffan E. A short course in epidemiology. NY, Raven
Press, 1992. 208pp, $37.50, ISBN 0-88167-842-2
According to the review in the January 1993 Epidemiology Monitor,
this book gives an excellent treatment of case-control studies as
well as covering cohort studies and general concepts in epidemiology
and is well suited for a second level text. Two chapters are devoted
to practice exercises.
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Other general textbooks of interest are:
- MacMahon, Brian. Epidemiology: principles and methods. 2nd
ed. Hagerstown MD, Lippincott-Raven, 1997.
This book is a revised edition of the classic text of the same name,
by Brian MacMahon and Thomas F. Pugh (Boston, Little Brown, 1970.
WA100 M167e 1970). The first edition provided a rich coverage of past
epidemiologic studies, as well as a more conceptual bent than those
texts which emphasize "methods". Since many of the concepts and practices
in epidemiology have developed primarily from the experience of working
epidemiologists, rather than through systematic theoretical development
supported by experimentation, familiarity with the range of work in
the field is invaluable. The first edition was dated in respect to
its presentation of concepts, but the descriptive epidemiology is
- Walker, Alexander M. Observation and inference: an introduction
to the methods of epidemiology. Newton Lower Falls, MA, Epidemiology
Resources Inc., 1991.
- Ahlbom, Anders and Staffan Norell. Introduction to modern epidemiology.
2nd ed. Newton Lower Falls, MA, Epidemiology Resources Inc., 1990.
This text is very succinct and has a quantitative orientation. It's
main strength is in providing a fairly basic, quick overview of the
modern formulation of epidemiologic concepts.
- Woodward, Mark. Epidemiology: study design and data analysis.
Boca Raton, FL: Chapman & Hall/CRC Press, 2ed, 2005, ISBN:1-58488-415-0. 872
According to the review (of the first edition) by J. Mac Crawford
in the Epidemiology Monitor (January 2000;21:11), this book
targets epidemiologists "who desire a grounding in the statistical
analysis of epidemiologic data" and statisticians "who need an understanding
of how their discipline may be utilized". Crawford says that the author
presents each topic (the standard set of epidemiologic concepts plus
ways of summarizing, presenting, and computing inferential statistics
for data) and includes computer analyses of examples (with the SAS
programming in the appendix). The reviewer judges this book more accessible
to epidemiologists lacking a background in mathematical statistics
than Steve Selvin's Statistical analysis of epidemiologic data
(1996), which is designed for the same audience.
- Kahn, Harold A. Statistical methods in epidemiology. New York,
- Miettinen, Olli S. Theoretical epidemiology. NY, Wiley, 1985.
This long-awaited textbook by a principal contributor to the development
and systematization of epidemiologic theory concerning measures, confounding,
and other quantitative topics was reviewed by Sander Greenland (Epidemiology
Monitor 7(3), March 1986). His review concludes:
"Given the book's unyielding and sometimes dogmatic style, its
idiosyncratic terminology, and its lack of exercises or detailed
case studies, I cannot recommend it as a course text for anything
but an advanced seminar. Nevertheless, I would recommend the first
nine chapters and appendices 1-6 to all research-oriented students,
with the warning that the text should be read as a stimulus to thought
rather than the revealed word."
- Morris, J.N. The uses of epidemiology. Third edition. Churchill
Livingstone, New York, 1975. WA100 M876 1975. Paperbound edition available.
This is a classic and very useful reference book providing a wide
series of provocative illustrations of the uses to which epidemiological
principles and methods can be put. The book is not a "text" in itself
but provides insights into a number of problems and a very full set
of references as a guide to further reading. It does not deal extensively
with epidemiological methods.
- Last, John M. (ed), James Chin, Jonathan Fielding, Arthur Frank, Joyce
Lashof (associate eds). Public health and preventive medicine.
12 ed. Norwalk, CT, Appleton-Century-Crofts
- B. Burt Gerstman. Epidemiology kept simple. NY, Wiley, 1998.
According to a review by Dimitrios Trichopoulos (Ann Epidemiol
1999;9:206), this book has many carefully worked out examples and
illustrations and a number of topics not covered in most other texts
– infectious disease epidemiology, disease outbreak investigations,
and computing and epidemiology – but very little on chronic disease
epidemiology. According to a review by Robert McKeown and Samuel Harper
(Epidemiology Monitor, June 1999), the exercises do not "engage
the student at higheer levels of learning: analysis, synthesis, evaluation,
or application" with the important exception of four case studies
(three from CDC training materials, the fourth from the late Joyce
Piper) which are "wonderful".
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- Rockett, Ian R. H. "Population and health: an introduction to epidemiology",
Population Bulletin 1994;49(3) (Population Reference Bureau,
Inc., Washington, DC).
A marvelously clear, well-organized, readable, accurate, and well-illustrated
overview of the field - an excellent resource to help your friends
and family know what your are learning or for students taking a short
course. Read this now if you've not had much previous exposure to
- American Health Foundation. Workshop on Guidelines to the Epidemiology
of Weak Associations. Preventive Medicine 1987; 16:139-212.
These workshop papers provide an excellent
treatment of a broad range of epidemiologic concepts. A set of reprints
is on reserve in the library.
- D. Coggon, Geoffrey Rose, D.J.P. Barker. Epidemiology
for the uninitiated
. A very basic introduction that you can
read at the British Medical Journal web site.
- Thomas, James C. and David J. Weber.Epidemiologic
methods for the study of infectious diseases. NY, Oxford, 2001
Comprehensive text on methodolgical issues
in epidemiologic research on infectious diseases with chapters by experts
in their respective fields.
- Petitti, Diana B. Meta-analysis, decision
analysis, & cost-effectiveness analysis: methods for quantitative synthesis,
2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.
According to the review by Steven Teutsch
in the March 2000 Epidemiology Monitor, this book addresses
the various aspects of a quantitative syntheses of the literature,
such as articulating the question, judging study quality, combining
studies, measuring effect size, and interpreting results. The text
is clear, logical, thoughtful, and contains many examples.
- Principles of Epidemiology: an introduction
to applied epidemiology and biostatistics. 2nd edition (field test
version 4/92). Self-study course 3030-G. Epidemiology Program Office
and Public Health Practice Program Office, Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333.
This book provides a clear and easily
read introduction and overview of basic concepts in epidemiology and
biostatistics, particularly those related to the practice of epidemiology
in health departments. Examples, exercises, and self-graded quizzes.
In addition to basics of epidemiologic measures, descriptive statistics,
and methods of data presentation, the book includes sections on public
health surveillance and investigating a disease outbreak.
- Susser, Mervyn. Causal
thinking in the health sciences. Oxford University Press, 1973.
WA100 S964 1973.
Another classic and an excellent introductory text whose forte
is the presentation of the historical and philosophical dimensions
of epidemiologic thinking about disease etiology. The book is one
of the most intellectually stimulating texts, but has less systematic
coverage of basic concepts than, for example, Mausner and Bahn. Unfortunately,
it is out of print, but is in the library.
- Armenian, Haroutune K. Applications of the case-control method. Epidemiologic
Reviews 1994;16(1):1-64. $20.
A series of review articles addressing historical and future perspectives,
selection of cases and controls, statistical analysis, and application
of this mainstay of epidemiologic investigation in selected areas
- Schlesselman, James J. (with contributions by Paul D. Stolley). Case-control
studies. Oxford University Press, New York, 1982. WA950 S342x.
Presents a systematic coverage of the concepts, methods, and analysis
of case-control studies, in a comparable fashion to the coverage of
clinical trials in the Friedman, Furberg, and DeMets book (see below).
Schlesselman includes coverage of related topics, such as measures
of risk, comparison of the case-control, cohort, and experimental
approaches, and provides extenisve discussion of questions, the matching,
sample size, and statistical analysis. The level and treatment are
more advanced than EPID 168, but much of the material is very readable
and relevant, particularly the earlier chapters. The chapters on "Planning
and conducting a study" and "Sample size" are excellent, and provide
a resource absent from most epidemology texts.
- Ibrahim, Michel A. (Ed.), Walter O. Spitzer (Coordinating Associate
Editor). The case-control study: consensus and controversy. Pergamon,
New York, 1979.
This book presents the papers and discussion from a conference convened
by the Journal of Chronic Diseases (now the Journal of Clinical
Epidemiology) to review concepts, methods, pitfalls, and policies
for case-control studies. The book is valuble for gaining an appreciation
of the mechanisms of bias in epidemiologic research, problems of study
design, execution and interpretation, the application of statistics
in epidemiologic research, the development of policy regarding the
conduct of research, and the development of this essential research
- Breslow, Norman E. and N.E. Day. Statistical methods in cancer
research. Volume I: The analysis of case-control studies. International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, 1980. QZ206 S797.
This book is Breslow and Day's textbook from the University of Washington.
It is intended for a more advanced course than EPID 168. The first
three chapters may be of most interest to EPID 168 students.
- Breslow, Norman E. and N.E. Day. Statistical methods in cancer
research. Volume II: The design and analysis of cohort studies.
(IARC Scientific Publications 82). NY, Oxford, 1988.
This book is a companion volume to the preceding text.
- Friedman, Lawrence M., Curt D. Furberg, David L. DeMets. Fundamentals
of clinical trials. John Wright/PSG, Boston, 1980. W20.5 F911f 1981.
This text is an excellent introduction to understanding and designing
clnical trials. It is very clearly written and systematic, and is
a good resource for understanding other aspects of analytic studies,
particularly issues in the interpretation of statistical questions.
- Meinert, Curtis L. Clinical trials: design, conduct, and analysis.
NY, Oxford, 1986.
A valuable reference work on clinical trials (and field research
in general) including practical, applied issues.
- Silva, Isabel dos Santos. Cancer epidemiology: principles and methods.
Lyon, France, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 1999
(ISBN 92 832 0405 0, 442 pages). Other books from IARC include Epidemiology
of childhood cancer, International incidence of childhood cancer,
and Cancer survival in developing countries. In addition IARC
produces a CD-ROM with data and software (GLOBOCAN) to access incidence
and mortality of 25 major cancers for all areas of the world.
- Checkoway, Harvey, Neil Pearce, and Douglas J. Crawford-Brown. Research
methods in occupational epidemiology. NY, Oxford, 1989.
Written while the three authors were at the UNC School of Public
- Monson, Richard R. Occupational epidemiology. 2nd ed. CRC Press,
1980. WA950 M7550 1990.
Chapters 1-5 cover general epidemiologic concepts in a very succinct
- Halperin W, Baker EL, Jr., Monson RR. Public health surveillance.
NY, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992
- Sechrest L, Perrin E, Bunker J. Research methodology: strengthening
causal interpretations of nonexperimental data. USDHHS, AHCPR, May
From a conference sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Policy
and Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).
- Fletcher, Robert H., Suzanne W. Fletcher, Edward H. Wagner. Clinical
epidemiology -- the essentials. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore,
1982. WA105 F614c 1982. Paperbound edition available.
This textbook is written with a clinical orientation, but contains
particularly clear and well-illustrated coverage of many topics of
universal concern for epidemiologists. Moreover, since the authors
were affiliated with this Department, the terminology and treatment
of topics are more similar to those used by the instructors than for
many of the other texts. Coverage is systematic and succinct, rather
than philosophical and rich in examples.
- Sackett, David L., R. Brian Haynes, and Peter Tugwell. Clinical
epidemiology: a basic science for clinical medicine. NY, Little,
This book emphasizes the "clinical" rather than the "epidemiology".
The principal audience is practicing physicians wishing to apply others'
research rather than wanting to do research.
- Weiss, Noel S. Clinical epidemiology: the study of the outcome
of illness. NY, Oxford, 1986.
- Kramer, Barnett S., John K. Gohagan, Philip C. Prorok. Cancer screening:
theory and practice. NY, Marcel
Dekker, 1999 (ISBN 0-8247-0200-X, 650 pp, $195)
- Feinstein, Alvan R. Clinical biostatistics. The C.V. Mosby
Company, St. Louis, 1977. HA29 F299c 1977. (Out of print but in the
This book contains a series of essays that appeared in Clinical
Pharmacology and Therapeutics, during 1970-1975. Coverage is at
a more advanced level and reflects Dr. Feinstein's strong views and
trenchant expression. This book is a very intellectually stimulating
collection on epidemiologic concepts and methods, but is more advanced
than the level of this course. It is also out of print. Dr. Feinstein
has published a new text (below).
Other books of interest
11/20/2010, 12/5/2011, 6/21/2014