Overview of Research Study Designs

How do I select the right study design?

Key Points

  • There are many ways to approach a research problem, and selecting the appropriate study design is a critical first step.
  • Examples of study designs include case-control, cohort study, randomized control trial, systematic review, and meta-analysis.
  • Some considerations to make when selecting a research design are: what data will be collected (qualitative or quantitative) if an intervention will be applied, how the data will be analyzed, and whether the results collected will answer the specific research question.

Helpful Links, Videos and Online Courses



  • Epidemiological Studies
    • A 10-minute video describing the details, differences, advantages, and disadvantages of different study designs in public health.
  • What is Research Design?
    • A 6-minute video that explains the difference between research methods and research design; factors to consider when selecting a study design; and how to use the scientific method to conduct a research project.

Helpful Courses

  • Research Design
    • Covers more advanced considerations of research design like data collection and sampling methods.
    • (Note: This 20-minute video lecture references a textbook, but the book is not needed to understand the video)