Skip to main content

Research Guides@Tufts

Study Designs in the Health Sciences

An introduction to the main features and uses of study designs popular and unique to medicine and the health sciences.


This guide was created to introduce you to the following study designs frequently used in the health sciences:

  • Case-Control
  • Clinical Trials
  • Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT)
  • Cohort
  • Systematic reviews/Meta-Analysis

Each tab in this guide describes a particular study design and will include a definition of the design, why it is used, ts format and features, and an example.

Retrieving Articles by Study Design in MEDLINE

The following are ways you can retrieve articles on MEDLINE that employ the study designs discussed  this guide.

In PubMed:

  • Use the Article types filter listed on left-side of the results screen to limit your search results to clinical trials, randomized controlled trails, systematic reviews* and meta-analysis 

  • To retrieve case-control and cohort studies, add the following to your search:
    • "Case-Control Studies" [Mesh]
    • "Cohort Studies." [Mesh]

      For example:


Amy LaVertu
Hirsh Health Sciences Library
Tufts University
145 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111
Website / Blog Page

Need Help?

Contact Us

Desk Hours: M-F 7:45am-5pm