Enabling students to understand and analyse contemporary issues in science and technology

AS Establishing causal links Activities & Weblinks


The following activities develop ideas about establishing causal links. These ideas are also referred to in other activities.

1.1 John Snow
1.1 Koch and tuberculosis
1.2 Measuring health
1.4 Clinical trials
1.7 Mobile phones and cancer?
1.8 Fruit and vegetables and cancer


A useful set of pages explaining different ways of calculating and presenting data, from BEEP.

A course on evidence based medicine includes a nice set of explanations, with graphics, of the key terms such as double-blind or cohort study from a US university.

Information on evidence based medicine and how to make decisions about treatments from the British Medical Journal.

Series of articles with clear explanations of topics such as bias and confidence intervals from Bandolier.

Chapter 5 of the publication Identifying the environmental causes of disease from the National Academy of Medical Science provides an excellent discussion of different research methods and their advantages and disadvantages. For teachers.

An explanation of epidemiology from the Open University.

Useful definitions related to epidemiology and risk from NHS choices.

Good explanations on analysing results for journalists.

Excellent set of short essays from the James Lind Library explaining and illustrating the development of fair tests of treatments in health care.

Explanation of p-values and confidence intervals

The What is …? series is intended to demystify some of the terminology, techniques and practices used to assess clinical and economic evidence within healthcare.

Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science site, with lots of lively articles providing relevant examples of science claims that don’t withstand close examination.