Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
OfferedAlfred Hospital First semester 2013 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Professor J Simpson


Introduction to a variety of health-related data collection sources, calculation of population fertility, mortality & morbidity rates, health service utilisation measures, disease registration & reporting. Use of direct & indirect age standardisation, life expectancy calculations, valid comparisons & health differentials. Development, design & delivery of health questionnaires. Use of focus groups, standard instruments for health surveys, coding, validity, reliability of measures & models of data collection. Efficient sampling strategies, data interpretation & analysis including stratification, clustering & weighting.


At the completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. derive and compare population measures of mortality, illness, fertility and survival, using basic demographic tools such as life tables and age standardisation;
  2. access the main sources of routinely collected health data and choose the appropriate one, taking into account their advantages and disadvantages;
  3. design a valid and reliable health survey to collect primary data, design an efficient sampling strategy to obtain random sample of the target population, and choose the most appropriate mode of delivery;
  4. analyse, interpret and present the results of survey data, taking the sampling strategy into account.


Written assignments (100%)

Chief examiner(s)



This unit is only available to students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Masters of Biostatistics.

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: