Springer Series in Statistics

Design of Observational Studies

Authors: Rosenbaum, Paul R.

  • The concepts of causal inference in experiments and observational studies are introduced using the elementary mathematics of independent coin flips to determine treatment assignment
  • The basic tools of multivariate matching – such as propensity scores, optimal matching, full matching, fine balance, risk set matching – are introduced with many examples and with reference to implementation in R
  • The key source of uncertainty in an observational study is possible bias from covariates that were not measured. The ability of competing designs to separate treatment effects from unmeasured biases – that is, the design sensitivity – is discussed in detail for the first time in book form
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eBook $109.00
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  • ISBN 978-1-4419-1213-8
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Hardcover $159.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-1212-1
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $149.00
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  • ISBN 978-1-4614-2486-4
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About this book

An observational study is an empiric investigation of effects caused by treatments when randomized experimentation is unethical or infeasible. Observational studies are common in most fields that study the effects of treatments on people, including medicine, economics, epidemiology, education, psychology, political science and sociology. The quality and strength of evidence provided by an observational study is determined largely by its design. Design of Observational Studies is both an introduction to statistical inference in observational studies and a detailed discussion of the principles that guide the design of observational studies.

Design of Observational Studies is divided into four parts. Chapters 2, 3, and 5 of Part I cover concisely, in about one hundred pages, many of the ideas discussed in Rosenbaum’s Observational Studies (also published by Springer) but in a less technical fashion. Part II discusses the practical aspects of using propensity scores and other tools to create a matched comparison that balances many covariates. Part II includes a chapter on matching in R. In Part III, the concept of design sensitivity is used to appraise the relative ability of competing designs to distinguish treatment effects from biases due to unmeasured covariates. Part IV discusses planning the analysis of an observational study, with particular reference to Sir Ronald Fisher’s striking advice for observational studies, "make your theories elaborate."

Paul R. Rosenbaum is the Robert G. Putzel Professor of Statistics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association. In 2003, he received the George W. Snedecor Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. He is a senior fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and a Research Associate at the Population Studies Center, both at the University of Pennsylvania. The second edition of his book, Observational Studies, was published by Springer in 2002.

Reviews

From the book reviews:

“The book is both a pragmatic how-to manual and a delightfully written manifesto. … The book contains four parts. … People very new to statistics could read this book quite readily, with the caveat that mathematical notation, language, and prose is used far more than in most classic introductory statistics books. This book seems most useful for statisticians and applied statisticians who are looking to learn about a new area that they might not have been exposed to before.” (Luke W. Miratrix, Psychometrika, Vol. 79, 2014)

“This is for those who want to improve whatever their basic design is—for those people, this is a very good book. … have several quick, but useful, guides: key elements in a design, solutions to common problems (very useful), a symbol glossary, a listing of acronyms, a glossary of statistical terms, suggested readings for a course on the design of observational studies, and an index. … anyone who is not an expert on the varieties of matching will profit from reading this.” (Richard Goldstein, Technometrics, Vol. 53 (2), May, 2011)

Finally, the book covers all the relevant issues in designing and analyzing treatment effects in observational studies, with the exception of observer bias, i.e., the bias present when the assessment of the outcomes are not valid; see Haro et al. (2006) for further details. Nowadays, it is yet unusual to address hidden biases in observational studies and, therefore, this book is an essential reading for statisticians who want to go a step beyond from the likely naïve sentence: 'We assume no unmeasured confounding in the study’.” (Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics , 2011, Issue 1)

“Graduate students and researchers in statistics, biostatistics, econometrics, or academic researchers in statistically oriented fields of psychology and social sciences. … ‘Design of Observational Studies’ talks about statistics. … The book will be suitable for a seminar course for graduate students with previous knowledge of the subject area, or practicing statisticians seeking guidance in design of observational research and a language to discuss the issues. ‘Design of Observational Studies’ is an important book.” (Erkki P. Liski, International Statistical Review, Vol. 78 (1), 2010)


Table of contents (19 chapters)

  • Dilemmas and Craftsmanship

    Rosenbaum, Paul R.

    Pages 3-20

  • Causal Inference in Randomized Experiments

    Rosenbaum, Paul R.

    Pages 21-63

  • Two Simple Models for Observational Studies

    Rosenbaum, Paul R.

    Pages 65-94

  • Competing Theories Structure Design

    Rosenbaum, Paul R.

    Pages 95-112

  • Opportunities, Devices, and Instruments

    Rosenbaum, Paul R.

    Pages 113-145

Buy this book

eBook $109.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-1213-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $159.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-1212-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $149.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-2486-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Design of Observational Studies
Authors
Series Title
Springer Series in Statistics
Copyright
2010
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4419-1213-8
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4419-1213-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4419-1212-1
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4614-2486-4
Series ISSN
0172-7397
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 384
Topics