It is possible to use descriptive epidemiology in order to find populations who are at a higher risk of contracting a disease. It can be used to identify trends in age, gender, and occupation, or study patterns of disease. When trying to determine factors that may be contributing to an epidemic or looking at potential intervention areas such as public health campaigns, descriptive epidemiological studies can prove useful.
Analytical epidemiology is then used to explore these relationships in greater depth by examining their causes and effects. The researchers can use cohort studies and case control studies to support their findings. The importance of analytic epidemiological research is to understand not just what causes an epidemic or problem, but how this can be avoided in the future.
The use of both analytic and descriptive epidemiology is useful when dealing with practice issues. Analytic studies allow practitioners to look at the root cause behind a particular problem, whereas descriptive ones provide an insight.