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Finding, Understanding and Conducting Research Studies


Throughout your schooling, you will be asked to find different types of research to support your course work. In fact, some of your assignments will ask you to find an article that provides an example of a specific type of research. Therefore, an understanding of what each research design encompasses and how to find articles that fit the research design is a good place to start. Below is a high level overview of types of research and study designs. Each page of the guide will go into depth for each type of study and provide you with search tips for finding articles that fit that study design.  

Note! If you get stuck trying to find a specific type of study, be sure to reach out to the librarians using the Ask Us page or the chat button from the library homepage.

Types of Research Studies

Quantitative and Qualitative Studies

Research is broken down into two different types: quantitative and qualitative. 

Quantitative studies are all about measurement. They will report statistics of things that can be physically measured like blood pressure, weight, and oxygen saturation.

Qualitative studies, on the other hand, are about people's experiences and how they feel about something. This type of information cannot be measured using statistics.  

Both of these types of studies report original research and are considered single studies.

Study Designs

Some research study types that you will encounter include:

  • Randomized Controlled Trials
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies

Studies that Synthesize Other Studies

Sometimes, a research study will look at the results of many other studies and look for trends and draw conclusions. These types of studies include:

  • Meta Analyses
  • Systematic Reviews
  • Literature Reviews

Tip! How do you figure out what type of study the research article you are reading is? First, look at the article abstract. Most of the time the abstract will have a methodology section, which should tell you what type of study design the researchers are using. If it is not in the abstract, look for the methodology section of the article. It should tell you all about what type of study the researcher is doing and the steps they used to carry out the study.

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