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Methodological issues in the observational studies conducted in older population: a narrative review
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI). Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Rome, Italy.
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Number of Authors: 11
2017 (English)In: Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health, ISSN 2282-2305, E-ISSN 2282-0930, Vol. 14, no 2, e12627Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Well-conducted observational studies may represent valuable tools for getting insight to disease etiology, detecting the effect of age-related changes, and providing an important perspective on health risk factors and disabilities in an aging population. Nevertheless, this kind of research poses several challenges for researchers. The main aim of this narrative review was to address the potential methodological issues in performing the observational studies in the elderly, the factors that influence their participation, and the possible solutions for overcoming the barriers to research in this population.

Methods: Comprehensive search for the papers published in the period from January 1st 1980 until 31st July 2016 in English or Italian was conducted through MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science electronic databases. Findings from the included papers were finally summarized.

Results: In cohort studies, the following barriers were addressed: sample size calculation, ascertainment of the target population, frequency of data collection, exposure determination, multifactorial loss to follow-up (drop-outs), cognitive impairment, definition of confounders, and ethical aspects. Case-control studies were reported to be prone to the issues like ascertainment of cases and controls, willingness to participate, data accuracy, recall bias, issues related to patients' multimorbidity, and cognitive impairment.

Conclusions: Important factors to consider in research in elderly people include: precise definition of the study population, well conducted recruitment process, engagement with family and home care staff, cognitive impairment assessment and the consequent relevant ethical and legal issues, relief of participant burden in order to minimize withdrawal, and engagement with the media.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 14, no 2, e12627
Keyword [en]
observational studies, cohort, case control, elderly, older adults
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-146018DOI: 10.2427/12627ISI: 000406782900010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-146018DiVA: diva2:1135486
Available from: 2017-08-23 Created: 2017-08-23 Last updated: 2017-08-23Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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