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Linkov, Faina Y (2005) NEW DIRECTIONS IN THE QUALITY CONTROL OF EPIDEMIOLOGICAL LECTURES ON THE INTERNET. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Finding high quality materials for the preparation of epidemiological lectures is a serious challenge for epidemiologists and public health professionals across the world. The emergence of the Internet in the early 90's offered a way to ease the access to the epidemiological lectures; however it also raised important questions about the quality of the educational lectures which are freely available on the Internet. In this research, we analyzed the quality of epidemiological lectures in the Global Health Network Supercourse lecture library. We selected a random sample of 100 lectures in the Supercourse that accumulated at least 3 reviews from the visitors of the Supercourse sites. We found 7 experts, leading researchers in the field of public health and medicine, who were also very experienced in reviewing papers for journals. These experts evaluated the same set of 100 lectures and gave us their expert opinion on their quality. Overall, the lectures were rated positively by both expert and the Supercourse reviewers. Although t-test indicated that the difference between the means was statistically significant, this difference is not meaningful due to large sample size. Kappa statistic and intraclass correlations indicated that inter rater agreement for experts and non-experts was surprisingly low (less than 0.4). We also observed HALO affect with overall score being a good predictor of other scores. Our findings were consistent with existing research in the area of peer review, demonstrating low inter rater agreement. This poor inter rater agreement was demonstrated for the first time for the Internet lectures. Our findings suggested that questionnaires assessing the quality of the Internet lectures may actually be replaced by one rating, similar to the system utilized in or hotel ratings. This research was significant for the field of public health because it was one of the first efforts to evaluate the quality of epidemiological lectures on the Internet. The quality of lectures on the web has rarely been assessed scientifically for epidemiological and public health lectures. Future research in this area may need to concentrate on alternatives to the peer review system.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Linkov, Faina Yfyl1@pitt.eduFYL1
Date: 17 June 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 April 2005
Approval Date: 17 June 2005
Submission Date: 11 April 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Epidemiology; global health; inter rater agreement; Internet; kappa; peer review
Other ID:, etd-04112005-094420
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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