Discuss why cross-sectional studies would be considered “descriptive” study designs
rather than “analytic” study designs. Discuss an example of a disease where survival
could influence the association between a possible exposure and the disease when
measured with a cross-sectional study. Do not discuss examples used in the textbook.
Descriptive Study Design
The study design is used to provide the protocols and framework and characterized by
the provision and generation of the hypothesis, disease and determinants description,
frequency, and outcome in a select target population. Moreover, they are used to highlight
the differences, correlations, and similarities of a disease outbreak or prevalence of a
condition among a select group in a given location at a particular time or duration (Aggarwal
& Ranganathan, 2019) . The types include cross sectional, case series, case reports, incidence,
and ecologic studies. Cross-sectional studies are used to describe the occurrence of a disease
or condition in an entire population that is selected and can include the prevalence ratios,
absolute and relative risks, and therefore the cause and effect of the ailment under
Also, they are used to elaborate and bring out the various characteristics of a disease
or condition and the relationships amongst them. Thus, they are said to be descriptive rather
than analytic, which are observational or experimental. Additionally, cross-sectional studies
are designed without a comparison population as it encompasses the entire population or
utilizes a sample population for the study (Kesmodel, 2018) . Epidemiologists utilizes them to
aid in understanding the spread of a disease in a population and how effective the
DESCRIPTIVE STUDY DESIGN 2
implementation of mitigation factors has been in the given region. Ultimately it provides the
questions in the form of hypothesis which are tested through an analytical study.
Example of Survival of Influence on Exposure and the Disease
An example of how survival influences the exposure and disease in the change in
virulence of Influenza virus or subtype which will lead to an increase in the number of cases
or the prevalence of the disease and also affects the survival rate or time of the exposed
individuals. It could be as a result of a mutation in the virus to form a different more deadly
subtype (Sun & Liu, 2015) . Furthermore, the population has not developed immunity against
and hence, the increase in the number of infection rates among them. It also leads to poor
outcomes in the community as the mitigation factors instituted are not effective due to the
DESCRIPTIVE STUDY DESIGN 3
Aggarwal, R., & Ranganathan, P. (2019). Study designs: Part 2 – Descriptive studies.
Perspectives in Clinical Research, 10(1), 34-36.
Kesmodel, U. S. (2018). Cross‐sectional studies – What are they good for? AGOS Acta
Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 97(4), 388-393.
Sun, Y., & Liu, J. (2015). H9N2 influenza virus in China: A cause of concern. Protein &
Cell, 6(1), 18-25.