Research Designs

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Latest Edit: Iva 2012-08-04 (EDT)

Scientific research consists of many different types of studies and levels of evidence. The various study designs are each useful and contribute information in a unique way, based on their particular strengths and limitations. One of the important goals of well designed research is to minimize possible sources of bias. Bias means any systematic source of error that can lead to false results. Bias can include selection of only certain types of participants who are not truly representative of the intended population; placing healthier people in the test group compared to the control group; or using insensitive or unreliable tools to measure the desired outcomes. When interpreting research it is important to keep sources of bias in mind, since this strongly determines the particular strengths and weaknesses of the study in question.

A description of the major study categories is provided below:

Traditional Knowledge

Original Research

Secondary or Synthesis Research