Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Formulate a Clinical Question

What type of study should you use?

Different types of questions may be best answered by different study types. Understanding what study type is ideal to answer your question will help you limit your search, and make the process of answering your question more efficient.

Click here to open a study types reference tool in a new window.

Type of Question Suggested best type of study

Diagnosis 

Prospective, blind comparison to a gold standard 

Therapy 

RCT > cohort > case control > case series 

Prognosis 

Cohort study > case control > case series 

Aetiology 

RCT > cohort > case control > case series 

Prevention 

RCT > cohort study > case control > case series 

Clinical findings 

Prospective, blind comparison to a gold standard