Overview of Observational Research

What are key principles of observational studies?

Key Points

  • An observational study is the most common type of study in health research.
  • In an observational study, the researcher does not make any intervention, they only observe the participants’ exposure and outcomes in natural situations.
  • Observational study is the choice of study in medical science when there is an ethical issues in Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT).

Helpful Links, Videos and Online Courses



  • Observational Studies
    • A 5-minute video from the Health Research Group that clarifies the different kinds of observational studies. Useful for beginner researchers as it focused on basic concepts of observational studies.
  • Understanding Observational Research
    • A very short, two-minute introduction from the National Pharmaceutical Council that provides comprehensive understanding and importance of observational studies from an expert.

Online Courses

  • Introduction to Observational Studies
    • A series of videos on statistical models and measures, including those used for observational research, are available with free access through this program from Bristol University.

Relevant Publications