This accessible and clearly-structured book offers a comprehensive insight into the methods and principles of epidemiological study alongside an analysis of the broad context in which epidemiological work is undertaken. Chapters on sources of epidemiological data, on epidemiological study designs and on basic statistical measures for epidemiological studies are used to introduce the reader to the traditional underpinnings of epidemiological work. Attention then shifts to a wider canvas. Consideration is given to the critical reading of epidemiological research both as a way of demonstrating how different aspects of epidemiological study come together in published work and as the basis for a discussion of the centrality of epidemiological research in the development of evidence-based health care. The key facets of evidence-based health care are assessed. A more discursive and critical assessment of epidemiology is also presented in which attention is drawn to the need to develop alternative epidemiologies which draw on lay knowledge and recognise the socio-political context of factors influencing health status. The book concludes with a description of the everyday practice of epidemiology in a UK health authority context.