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Let's say I'm conducting a study in which persons recently diagnosed with an infectious disease were recruited to provide a variety of different specimens and answer standardized clinical survey questions (with minimal follow up and no additional timepoints collected). The purpose is to study potential modes of transmission by correlating relevant clinical factors with quantitative infectious pathogen load found in different specimen types.

What's the most appropriate description of this study/recruitment design in the context of epidemiology or public health research?

I'm not epidemiologist by training, but I think I can rule out prospective recruitment along with longitudinal, cohort, and experimental study designs. It's not really a case-control study since there is no control group (hard with pathogen load as the primary outcome of interest). Basically leaves a cross-sectional observational study (unless my thinking is way off here).

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    $\begingroup$ Seems like this question would fit better on Stats.SE, though I personally feel like most of the study design terminology has little real use even though people in the medical field love to put those words first in their abstract. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ generally cohort means you do your measurements (in each subject) at multiple points in time. Merely asking them to provide their own disease history etc. is still just cross-sectional. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ IF the sample is representative of a population in some way, authors tend to add that to the title... so you see something like "representative cross-sectional". When it's a convenience sample though, they don't emphasize that :D $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Fizz - Thanks for helping to confirm my initial conclusion Fizz. Glad I'm not totally mistaken. I mostly asked so that I can provide some appropriate feedback to a colleague who asked me for edits on a manuscript. $\endgroup$
    – MikeyC
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 14:50

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