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Examining the principles and methods of research on the evaluation of factors affecting the outcome of illness, this volume emphasizes diagnostic and therapeutic interventions--the factors most readily modified by health care providers. The author discusses various ways of structuring observations on patient groups, and appraises the nature and strength of inferences drawn from those observations. Weiss also demonstrates how the results of this type of research--clinical epidemiologic research--can be incorporated into the decision-making process utilized in clinical medicine. The Second edition differs from the earlier one in a number of respects. It now employs a broader frame of reference, which includes studies such as those of adverse drug effects that use multipurpose computerized databases, and an expanded, explanation of the structure of evidence for drawing inferences, particularly evidence pertaining to the efficacy of testing. Examples have been modernized and replaced with more recent experimental results throughout the text, while decision analysis has been de-emphasized. The book's underlying theme, however, remains the same: the resources available to health care are finite and, through properly conducted research, the most efficient and safest ways of using these resources can and should be identified.