Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

*PH 3010 Introduction to Research Methods in Public Health: Reading Articles

Definitions

Systematic Review

A summary of the clinical literature. A systematic review is a critical assessment and evaluation of all research studies that address a particular clinical issue. The systematic review may also include a quantitative pooling of data, called a meta-analysis.  

Example:
Wanchai, A., Armer, J. M., & Stewart, B. R. (2010). Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Women With Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing14(4).

Adapted from Study Designs; in NICHSR Introduction to Health Services Research: a Self-Study Course

Randomized Controlled Trial

A controlled clinical trial that randomly (by chance) assigns participants to two or more groups. There are various methods to randomize study participants to their groups.  

Example:

Barrett, B., Hayney, M. S., Muller, D., Rakel, D., Ward, A., Obasi, C. N., ... & West, R. (2012). Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection: a randomized controlled trial. The Annals of Family Medicine10(4), 337-346.

Adapted from Study Designs; in NICHSR Introduction to Health Services Research: a Self-Study Course

Cohort Study (Prospective Observational Study)

A clinical research study in which people who presently have a certain condition or receive a particular treatment are followed over time and compared with another group of people who are not affected by the condition.

Example:

Croucher, R., Shanbhag, S., Dahiya, M., Kassim, S., Csikar, J., & Ross, L. (2012). Smokeless tobacco cessation in South Asian communities: a multiā€centre prospective cohort study. Addiction107, 45-52.

Adapted from Study Designs; in NICHSR Introduction to Health Services Research: a Self-Study Course

Case-control Study

Case-control studies begin with the outcomes and do not follow people over time. Researchers choose people with a particular result (the cases) and interview the groups or check their records to ascertain what different experiences they had. They compare the odds of having an experience with the outcome to the odds of having an experience without the outcome.

Example:

Persaud, N., Coleman, E., Zwolakowski, D., Lauwers, B., & Cass, D. (2012). Nonuse of bicycle helmets and risk of fatal head injury: a proportional mortality, case–control study. CMAJ184(17), E921-E923.

Adapted from Study Designs; in NICHSR Introduction to Health Services Research: a Self-Study Course

Cross-sectional study

The observation of a defined population at a single point in time or time interval. Exposure and outcome are determined simultaneously.

Example:

Steiner, M. J., Skinner, A. C., & Perrin, E. M. (2011). Fasting might not be necessary before lipid screening: a nationally representative cross-sectional study. Pediatrics128(3), 463-470.

Adapted from Study Designs; in NICHSR Introduction to Health Services Research: a Self-Study Course

Case Reports / Case Studies

A report on a particular patient or program with an outcome of interest. No control group is involved.

Example:

Lattanzi, J. B., Campbell, S. L., Dole, R. L., & Palombaro, K. M. (2011). Students mentoring students in a service-learning clinical supervision experience: an educational case report. Physical Therapy91(10), 1513-1524.

Adapted from Study Designs; in NICHSR Introduction to Health Services Research: a Self-Study Course

Ideas, Editorials, Opinions

Opinions from experts in the field. Often interesting, but not a peer reviewed item.

Example:

Koop, C. E. (2006). Health and health care for the 21st century: for all the people. American Journal of Public Health 96(12):2090-2.

Adapted from Study Designs; in NICHSR Introduction to Health Services Research: a Self-Study Course