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J Epidemiol Community Health 58:635-641 doi:10.1136/jech.2003.008466
  • Continuing professional education

Bias

  1. M Delgado-Rodríguez1,
  2. J Llorca2
  1. 1Division of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Jaen, Spain
  2. 2Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Cantabria, Spain
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor M Delgado-Rodríguez
 Division of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Building B-3, University of Jaen, 23071-Jaén, Spain; mdelgadoujaen.es
  • Accepted 15 November 2003

Abstract

The concept of bias is the lack of internal validity or incorrect assessment of the association between an exposure and an effect in the target population in which the statistic estimated has an expectation that does not equal the true value. Biases can be classified by the research stage in which they occur or by the direction of change in a estimate. The most important biases are those produced in the definition and selection of the study population, data collection, and the association between different determinants of an effect in the population. A definition of the most common biases occurring in these stages is given.

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