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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 321
Descriptive versus analytical studies in a clinical setup

Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Web Publication12-May-2017

Correspondence Address:
Kanica Kaushal
Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.206187

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How to cite this article:
Kaushal K. Descriptive versus analytical studies in a clinical setup. Indian J Dermatol 2017;62:321

How to cite this URL:
Kaushal K. Descriptive versus analytical studies in a clinical setup. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Dec 10];62:321. Available from:


This is in reference to the article, “The psychosocial impact of acne vulgaris“ published in Indian J Dermatol 2016;61:515-20.[1]

The authors have done a commendable job to assess psychosocial impact of acne vulgaris.

However, I have a few concerns regarding the type of study and methodology being adopted in the present study.

First, the authors have written in their material and methods that the study done was a hospital-based, prospective, cross-sectional study done in the dermatology outpatient department.[1]

The epidemiologic studies are either descriptive or analytical studies. Descriptive studies include case reports, case series reports, cross-sectional studies, surveillance studies, and ecological studies whereas analytical studies are either experimental or observational. Case–control and cohort studies are the type of observational studies out of which the latter is usually the prospective study.[2]

Hence, how can a study be “cross-sectional, i.e., descriptive“ and “prospective“ at the same time?

They have recruited a total of 100 consecutive patients, newly diagnosed as acne vulgaris, of age 15 years and above in the study. Hence, this is a cross-sectional study which gives the snapshot of the situation for the particular period. In a cross-sectional study, the investigator measures the outcome and the exposures in the study participants at the same time.[3] However, in a cohort study (written prospective in this article), the participants do not have the outcome of interest to begin with. They are selected based on the exposure status (acne vulgaris) of the individual. They are then followed over time to evaluate for the occurrence of the outcome of interest (psychosocial in the present article).[4]

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Hazarika N, Archana M. The psychosocial impact of acne vulgaris. Indian J Dermatol 2016;61:515-20.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Kaushal K. Quality of life and psychological morbidity in vitiligo patients: A study in a teaching hospital from North-East India. Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:512.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Setia MS. Methodology series module 3: Cross-sectional studies. Indian J Dermatol 2016;61:261-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Setia MS. Methodology series module 1: Cohort studies. Indian J Dermatol 2016;61:21-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  


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