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194 OCCUPATIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGY BEYOND EFFECT MEASURES: INTERFACE BETWEEN QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE METHODS
The assumption that occupational epidemiology should be an applied science frames this presentation. With this premise in mind, arguments are made for why the occupational health and safety community should broaden our approaches to incorporate more qualitative methods with traditional quantitative epidemiological techniques. These research methodologies are viewed on a continuum rather than as two discrete entities. While the presentation is from the perspective of an American researcher using illustrations largely from injury epidemiology, a number of concepts are more broadly applicable.
In the 1960s when Sir Austin Bradford Hill outlined his criteria for causal inference, he first mentioned strength of association. It is not surprising that epidemiologists spend much effort seeking ways to make our effect measures more precise. We strive to clearly define our outcomes, exposures and other variables of interest, and we are enamoured with analytical methods that more precisely define the strength and precision of associations. This focus on strength of association has also taken us to meta-analyses, and systematic reviews, in which studies are tediously limited/restricted based on strict inclusion criteria. There is certainly merit in these efforts and we should continue …