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Title: The epidemiology of common symtoms in the community : developing an evidence-based methodological approach to data collection
Author: Majethia, Nita
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 5044
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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Introduction Symptoms are universally experienced and can be bothersome. There have been comparatively few studies of common symptoms in the UK general population. As a result, little is known about the current epidemiology of common symptoms in the UK. There are major methodological challenges to conducting an epidemiological study of common symptoms in the community. Current knowledge about the most appropriate methodological tools for collecting and interpreting data on symptoms is limited. A range of methods has been used in previous studies, but the most appropriate method is not known. An evaluation of the different methods that could be used for investigating common symptoms in the community was therefore required. Aims The overall aim of this study was to investigate and compare the use of different approaches to collecting epidemiological data on common symptoms, with a view to developing an evidence-base for the use of these different approaches. Methods A general review of methods used in epidemiological studies and a comprehensive review of methods used in previous epidemiological studies of symptoms were undertaken. The reviews informed the development of symptoms survey. Symptoms survey was conducted to collect epidemiological data on common symptoms in the community. A total of 1179 individuals was approached from four GP practices in the Aberdeen area and sent an invitation letter, information sheet and consent form. Potential participants were requested to select at least two data collection instruments from four options (postal questionnaire, diary, online questionnaire and telephone interview). All the instruments collected the same data (presence of symptoms, severity of symptoms, management of symptoms and quality of life). This allowed a direct comparison of the data collected by the various measures. Those agreeing to participate in the study were sent one of their chosen instruments in phase one of the study and a second (but different) one of their chosen instruments in phase two, which was conducted three weeks later.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Epidemiology ; Research methods ; Questionnaires ; Data Collection