Instructions:
1. Select a non-infectious disease or condition that you are interested in and look at reputable sources of
information to understand risk factors for this condition. Appropriate sources of information include, but
are not limited to the CDC, WHO, or the National Library of MedicineвЂTMs PubMed database for medical
literature. Potential project areas might be in occupational health, social or behavioral health,
environmental health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, or other chronic conditions.
2. Develop a research project proposal to study a specific testable hypothesis related to the non-infectious
disease or condition you selected. The testable hypothesis should be specific and measurable. In
developing your project proposal, you will need to ensure that you can address all of the areas required
below under “Report FormatвЂк
3. Create a written report in the format below summarizing your research proposal. This report is intended to
be short and under 2,000 words.
Example Topic:
Suppose I am interested in environmental health. I live in New Hampshire (the Granite State) and have heard that in areas
where the geology is heavily granite, ground water can become contaminated with arsenic, a potential problem for people
with private wells who are not likely to have taken arsenic mitigation action. I hypothesize that people with private wells
will have higher levels of arsenic in their blood, and will be at greatest risk for diseases associated with arsenic. The
specific testable hypothesis I choose to study is that people living in Southeastern NH (region with the most granite) who
have private groundwater wells, have a higher incidence of bladder cancer than people in the same region whose homes
are served by a public water supply. However, because it takes so long for bladder cancer to develop (possibly decades)
and because it is relatively rare, I choose a case-control study design, whereby I will identify bladder cancer cases through
the NH cancer registry (5 years worth of diagnoses) and find community controls. Because of the case-control study
design, I now revise my hypothesis to appropriately reflect the study design. My new specific testable hypothesis is that
people with bladder cancer are significantly more likely to have private groundwater wells than people without cancer.
Cases will be recruited through their oncologist or primary care provider, and controls will be recruited through a large
academic medical center with the goal of selecting 4 controls for each case. Participants will be interviewed to ask about
their source of drinking water, as well as other potential sources of arsenic such as working in certain industrial facilities
and exposure to tobacco smoke (a potential confounder because smoking also increases the risk of cancer). At the
completion of the study, I will calculate an odds ratio to describe the relationship between private well water and bladder cancer. This study example is not without methodologic problems, but it serves as an example of the thought process your
project proposal should reflect. Your proposal similarly does not need to be methodologically perfect, but it should
demonstrate your understanding of the difference between study designs and epidemiologic analysis approaches.
Report Format:
Title
п‚· Must be specific and concise (20 word limit)
п‚· Include the variables and population being studied
п‚· Example: Private groundwater wells as a source of arsenic in bladder cancer patients in New Hampshire:
A Case-Control Study
Background
п‚· 3 paragraphs generally describing the health condition (1 paragraph), why it is important (1 paragraph),
and what benefit your research project would bring such as how the information can be used to implement
a public health intervention for prevention (1 paragraph)
п‚· Cite reputable sources of information such as scientific journal articles or the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. Do not cite Wikipedia or other similar sites. Follow APA format for references.
Variables
п‚· State the outcome variable
п‚· List the primary exposure variables you propose to collect in this study
п‚· List any potential confounder variables
Participants
п‚· Briefly describe who will participate in the study and how you will recruit participants, especially if you
plan to study a specific population, such as Hispanic males, for example.
Research Design
п‚· Explicitly state the study design you have selected.
п‚· How will you collect the data? Will you use interviews, observation, questionnaires, clinical
interventions, administrative data, etc.?
п‚· Are you doing qualitative or quantitative research? is it exploratory, experimental?
Data Analysis Plan
п‚· What statistics do you plan to calculate:
o Descriptive statistics (counts, frequencies, measures of central tendency, etc.)
o Inferential statistics (PearsonвЂTMs r, ANOVA, t-tests, z-tests, etc.)
o Measures of association, bivariate or multivariate statistics (Odds ratios, Risk ratios, etc.)
Syllabus Page 3 of 3
Limitations
п‚· What potential limitations do you foresee with the study you propose? What data quality, analysis, or
interpretation problems might there be?
п‚· Are there any aspects you are deliberately not going to study because they are outside of what you view
as the scope of the project?

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