This accessible and clearly-structured book offers a comprehensive insight into the methods and principles of epidemiological study alongside an analysis of the broad context in which epidemiological work is undertaken. Chapters on sources of epidemiological data, on epidemiological study designs and on basic statistical measures for epidemiological studies are used to introduce the reader to the traditional underpinnings of epidemiological work. Attention then shifts to a wider canvas. Consideration is given to the critical reading of epidemiological research both as a way of demonstrating how different aspects of epidemiological study come together in published work and as the basis for a discussion of the centrality of epidemiological research in the development of evidence-based health care. The key facets of evidence-based health care are assessed. A more discursive and critical assessment of epidemiology is also presented in which attention is drawn to the need to develop alternative epidemiologies which draw on lay knowledge and recognise the socio-political context of factors influencing health status. The book concludes with a description of the everyday practice of epidemiology in a UK health authority context.
I research in three main areas
Geography of health: here are I am concerned with geographical inequalities in mortality in advanced economies; I have been following the HALS cohort of 9003 individuals since 1985 and examining the nature of place effects, particularly the mortality of 'poor people in poor places'; a series of review papers (in Progress in Human Geography) and a number of empirical papers (eg in Social Science and Medicine) were influential in initiating a wide ranging debate on the meaning of place effects in health; on a broader front, a book that I co-authored (Health, Disease and Society) is widely credited with helping to re-fashioning the sub-discipline of 'medical geography' into the 'geography of health';
Research design; this work focuses on how we can develop evidence-based research in non-experimental studies; this interest permeates all my work but can be explicitly seen in the joint-authored book Epidemiology, and in recent contributions to Theory and Methods in Social Research (edited by Somekh and Lewin); I am also interested in cluster randomised trials.
Realistically complex modelling: this research work focuses on the quantitative analysis of social-science data with complex structure particularly when there are many levels of analysis. Thus, we can have repeated measures (at level 1) on individuals (at level 2) nested with households (level 3), nested within neighbourhoods (level 4). This is the work that I am currently best known for. I have a long association with the Centre for Multilevel Modelling which is now located at Bristol. My distinctive contribution has been to apply these multilevel models in novel ways, quite widely in the social sciences so in addition to publishing in top journals in geography (eg Economic Geography, Geographical Analysis) there are papers in social medicine (British Medical Journal, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health), on mental health (British Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Epidemiology), and in political science (American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science), as well is in journals that focus on methodology (Journal of the Royal Statistical Society). In this context I regularly use and teach the MLwiN software and I have contributed to the recent manual.
Currently , I am Professor of Quantitative Human Geography at the University of Bristol (since 2001), being Head of the School of Geographical Sciences 2005-9. Prior to this, I held a personal chair and was Professor of Geography at the University of Portsmouth. I am an Academician of the Social Sciences (elected 2008) and featured in the top 20 most cited human geographers of the last half century . I was appointed as a panel member for Geography and Environmental Studies for two Research Assessment Exercises. I am also a Visting Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Leuven. I have run advanced workshops in multilevel modelling for many years at the University of Essex Summer School and at the Swiss Summer School for Social Science Methods. I am married to Tina and we have one son, Alex, who is currently a doctor at Weston General Hospital.
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