Finding Types of Research

About This Guide

Throughout your schooling, you may need to find different types of evidence and research to support your course work. This guide provides a high-level overview of evidence-based practice as well as the different types of research and study designs. Each page of this guide offers an overview and search tips for finding articles that fit that study design.

Note! If you need help finding a specific type of study, visit the Get Research Help guide to contact the librarians.

Understand Evidence-Based Practice

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

One of the requirements for your coursework is to find articles that support evidence-based practice. But what exactly is evidence-based practice? Evidence-based practice is a method that uses relevant and current evidence to plan, implement and evaluate patient care. This definition is included in the video below, which explains all the steps of evidence-based practice in greater detail.

Identify Research Study Types

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. Watch the video below for more information.

Watch the Identifying Quantitative and Qualitative video

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 studies and look for trends and draw conclusions. These types of studies include:

  • Meta Analyses
  • Systematic Reviews
  • Literature Reviews

Tip! How do you determine the research article's study type or level of evidence? 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.

Read the book below to learn how to read a clinical paper, including the types of study designs you will encounter.