INFM 213
Epidemiological Methods
Semester Spring II 2020 Syllabus

Dr. Marcelle Taylor Dougan
Office: SPX 209
Phone: 408-924-3475 (office)
Office Hours: Virtual office hours by appointment. Telephone and in-person advising also by appointment

Syllabus Links
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: This three-unit course runs from March 9 to May 11. The class will be available on Canvas on March 9.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the principles and methods of epidemiologic research, to enable them to design, conduct, analyze, and interpret epidemiologic research.


Assignment CLOs Points Due Date
Virtual labs are worth 15% of the semester grade and will include SAS exercises and interpretation of data

CLOs: 1-10 15% Weeks 3, 6
Data Project CLO: 1,2,4-10 25% Week 7
Midterm Exam CLO: 1,4,5,9 20% Week 4
Comprehensive Final Exam CLO: 1-9 25% Week 8
Homework (3 assignments) CLO: 4-6 15%

Weeks 1, 2, 5 

Library Liaison

The Health Science Librarian: Each discipline has a dedicated expert librarian, available to assist students in person, online, and over the phone. The Health Science Librarian is Adriana Poo and she can be reached at

Required Equipment

You should have access to:

  • Calculator (a non-cell phone calculator e.g., TI30 or equivalent, approx. $10).

  • We will be using the statistical software SAS (University Edition)  for this class.  SAS is licensed software that is available for free to University students.  The online version is available for both Macs and PCs.  To download, please visit  Please follow the instructions carefully to facilitate a smooth process.  
  • The latest internet browsers 

  • A fast internet connection (DSL or Cable modem preferred) to expedite uploads and downloads

  • Proficiency in using a word processing program

  • Adobe Reader (or Acrobat) portable document format (PDF) files. To access these files you must have a free "Acrobat" reader on your computer. You can download in either PC or MAC versions from: 
    Adobe -
  • PDAs, iPhones, Blackberry’s, etc. cannot be used to calculate mathematical problems on exams. 

Other Relevant Information:

Determined by instructor, could include, e.g., participation expectations

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

Graduate Standing or Instructor Consent

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize and explain the importance of epidemiology for informing scientific, ethical, economic and political discussion of health problems; to define basic epidemiologic terms and methods for describing disease and risk factor occurrence.
  2. Apply causal concepts in the prevention of disease.
  3. Apply epidemiologic principles of screening for disease.
  4. Calculate and interpret epidemiologic measures of occurrence, association, and potential impact.
  5. Draw appropriate inference from various types of epidemiologic studies.
  6. Identify and assess systematic errors in public health research.
  7. Communicate epidemiologic information to lay and professional audiences.
  8. Comprehend basic ethical and legal principles pertaining to the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of epidemiologic data.
  9. Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of epidemiologic reports written for scientific and general audiences.
  10. Analyze and interpret an epidemiological data set using standard statistical software.

SLOs and PLOs

This course supports Informatics SLO 6: Identify and evaluate specific information, data, records, and ethics challenges in a defined specialized context (health, sports, cybersecurity), and apply knowledge and skills from foundation courses to design and implement technical user-centered solutions to the specified informatics problem.

SLO 6 supports the following Informatics Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):

  • PLO 1 Apply technology informatics skills to solve specific industry data and information management problems, with a focus on usability and designing for users.
  • PLO 2 Evaluate, manage, and develop electronic records programs and applications in a specific organizational setting.
  • PLO 3 Demonstrate strong understanding of security and ethics issues related to informatics, user interface, and inter-professional application of informatics in specific fields by designing and implementing appropriate information assurance and ethics and privacy solutions.
  • PLO 4 Identify user needs, ideate informatics products and services, prototype new concepts, and evaluate a prototype's usability.


Required Textbooks:

  • Aschengrau, A. &, Seage, G. (2014). Essentials of epidemiology in public health. Jones & Bartlett Learning. Available from Amazon: 1284128350arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Delwiche, L. &, Slaughter, S. (2014). The little SAS book: A primer (5th ed.). SAS Institute. Available from Amazon: 1612903436 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Venables, W., Smith, D. &, R Core Team (2018). An introduction to R. R Core Team. Available from The iSchoolarrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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