The new, completely revised, and updated edition of this classic text sponsored by the International Epidemiological Association (IEA) and previously edited by John Last remains the definitive dictionary in epidemiology worldwide. In fact, with contributions from over 220 epidemiologists and other users of epidemiology from around the globe, it is more than a dictionary: it includes explanations and comments on both core epidemiologic terms and on other scientific terms relevant to all professionals in clinical medicine and public health, as well as to professionals in the other health, life, and social sciences. Anyone seeking clarity on epidemiologic and methodological definitions important to human health will find it here. On the eve of a field trip to a foreign land, a health scientist remarked that if he had to limit his professional library to one volume on epidemiology, this would be the book he would choose.
Reviewer:James C. Torner, MS, PhD(University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description:This fifth edition of a compilation of terms, concepts, and measures used in epidemiology broadens the scope to related fields to expand utility. It is designed as a reference for epidemiological scholars, students, and persons interested in epidemiology.
Purpose:The purpose is to provide an authoritative reference of terms used in the practice of epidemiology. The editor builds upon prior editions to provide a contemporary compendium. This is a reference that is essential in use of terms based upon consensus and it strives to achieve a higher level of authority than would be found in public access references like Wikipedia. Like prior editions, this edition achieves the goal of being the standard reference for epidemiological terms.
Audience:The definitions and cross-references are accessible and easy to interpret. The dictionary avoids jargon, but each discipline does have its contextual words or phrases. It would be useful for readers to have a general understanding of epidemiology, but readers of an epidemiological article could use the dictionary as a reference. The editor and contributors are leading epidemiologists.
Features:As expected, it has the structure and format of a dictionary. There are cross-references, but each term or phrase has an adequate definition. The definitions are not long with the exception of those with examples. The book is comprehensive but not massive, authoritative yet approachable. The dictionary format is limited in flexibility and it is straightforward in organization and content. As with any dictionary, there are new concepts and terms that could be included in the next edition.
Assessment:Like its prior editions, this is the gold standard for the field and has the endorsement of the International Epidemiological Association. The utility could be improved with an electronic/Internet version. It is worth replacing the prior edition on the shelf with this one.