Health Questions and Answers

Are there any other types of study designs I should be familiar with?

Yes, cohort, case-control, and case series studies.

Cohort studies divide groups by exposure status and prospectively follow the groups over time to determine who develops the disease. These studies are used to calculate the relative risks of various exposures.

Case-control studies retrospectively compare cases (individuals with the disease) with controls (individuals without the disease) to determine the frequency of exposures. These research studies are subject to recall bias but can be used to determine odds ratios.

Case series report characteristics of patients with a particular disease and can be valuable when looking at rare diseases or outcomes (HIV first was reported as a case series of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in homosexual populations).

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