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Last Edited: 10/5/2009

Ecological Study

"Ecological" is a term describing a type of epidemiological study in which specific individuals are not studied, but rather groups of people are compared, e.g., examining differences in disease rates between counties. Because nothing is known about exposures experienced by the specific individuals in the groups, ecological studies may be more prone to biases that can't be controlled. Nevertheless, ecological studies are often a good first approach in examining the health status of communities.

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