4. Descriptive studies

  1. A. Gouveia Oliveira

Published Online: 12 JUL 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118670767.ch04

Biostatistics Decoded

Biostatistics Decoded

How to Cite

Oliveira, A. G. (ed) (2013) Descriptive studies, in Biostatistics Decoded, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118670767.ch04

Editor Information

  1. Department of Pharmacy, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 12 JUL 2013
  2. Published Print: 3 SEP 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119953371

Online ISBN: 9781118670767



  • descriptive studies;
  • incidence studies;
  • person-years method;
  • prevalence studies;
  • sampling methods;
  • standardization


Descriptive studies represent one of the first steps in the formal investigation of a new problem. This chapter presents some statistical methods that are frequently used in descriptive studies. Because descriptive studies are so important to epidemiology, the science that studies the distribution and determinants of disease in populations, this subject is presented under the perspective of epidemiological studies, and a few analytical methods that are often used in such studies are covered. The emphasis of the chapter is on sampling methods and on study designs for descriptive studies and addresses these issues. The sampling methods discussed include probability sampling, simple random sampling, sampling with and without replacement, stratified sampling, and multistage sampling.