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SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth is a multicenter study that conducts population-based ascertainment of youth with clinically diagnosed, non-gestational diabetes who are <20 at the time of diagnosis.

Cases are ascertained from geographically defined populations in Ohio, Colorado, South Carolina and Washington, Indian Health Service beneficiaries from four American Indian populations, and enrollees in several health plans in California and Hawaii.

I know what ascertain means, but I can't understand the meaning of the word "ascertainment" in this context. Can you please help me put this phrase in other words for clear understanding.

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    This is ascertain, a verb you may find in any dictionary, with the suffix -ment, which transforms it into a noun: the act of ascertaining. – StoneyB Jun 6 '16 at 17:37
  • @StoneyB: I'd have expected assessment in the cited context, so assuming the writer is a competent native speaker, it's at least possible they've deliberately chosen a different word for some reason. Come to that, what exactly is "youth" here, and what are they ascertaining/assessing that's somehow different to simply asking the study subjects how old they are? – FumbleFingers Jun 6 '16 at 17:43
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    For the record, I am a native speaker of (American) English and regularly read medical research, and I have no idea what this passage means. I have some guesses, but no certainty. – Codeswitcher Jun 6 '16 at 18:13
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    I'm also a native English speaker, and I believe that in this case ascertainment IS intended to be synonymous with assessment or examination . They are going to find people who qualify for the study, and each person who qualifies will be ascertained, i.e., examined/assessed. As I read it, the ascertainment is what will be done after they qualify as a study participant. The ascertainment is not what qualifies them as a participant. – Darryl Jun 6 '16 at 18:37
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    @FumbleFingers, Darryl, Codeswitcher, V.V., thank you for helping me understand that this collocation is unusual for the English language, I think I can understand its meaning now! – vasily.m.biryukov Jun 6 '16 at 18:53
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Ascertainment refers to the sampling parameters in use when finding cases for a study. One must avoid so-called "ascertainment bias" that would skew the statistical results.

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