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KIN 290 - Intro to Evidence Based Practice

Study Design Resources

The following links provide information on defining and identifying types of medical research studies (also referred to as levels of evidence):

Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) - Levels of Evidence

Understanding Research Study Designs - University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library

Article: Using Meta-analyses for Comparative Effectiveness Research

with permission from:

EBM Resources

The following links provide additional information and explanation of EBM:

UIC University Library - Evidence Based Medicine


Duke University - Introduction to Evidence Based Practice

Types of Studies

Research or Evidence Definition & Example

Analysis of data from a number of independent studies of the same subject in order to determine overall trends and statistical significance.

Example Meta-analysis Article

Systematic Review

An exhaustive and comprehensive review of research and studies (clinical trials) on a particular health related topic. All relevant results are combined and summarized into one published review.

View Example Systematic Review Article 

Randomized Control Trial

(RCT) is a scientific study that randomly assigns participants into a control group to determine whether a cause-effect relationship exists between treatment and outcome.

View Example RCT Article

Cohort Study

A longitudinal study where patients (participants) with a similar health condition are followed over time and compared with another group of patients not affected by the same condition.

View Example Cohort Study Article

Cross-Sectional Study

Observing and collecting data from an entire population at a defined time. Results may be used to describe features of a population, prevalence of a health condition or cause and effect of a particular disease.

View Example Cross-Sectional Study

Case Study

A Case Study is an article that documents an individual case (patient) condition. It is generally used to identify new trends or unexplained conditions or diseases.

View Example Case Study 

with permission from:

Differences between types of reviews


 Differences between a systematic review and other types of reviews | from Cochrane Library


"A systematic review identifies an intervention for a specific disease or other problem in health care, and determines whether or not this intervention works. To do this authors locate, appraise and synthesize evidence from as many relevant scientific studies as possible. They summarize conclusions about effectiveness, and provide a unique collation of the known evidence on a given topic, so that others can easily review the primary studies for any intervention.

Systematic reviews differ from other types of review in that they adhere to a strict design in order to make them more comprehensive, thus minimizing the chance of bias, and ensuring their reliability. Rather than reflecting the views of the authors, or being based on a partial selection of the literature, (as is the case with many articles and reviews that are not explicitly systematic), they contain all known references to trials on a particular intervention and a comprehensive summary of the available evidence. The reviews are therefore also valuable sources of information for those receiving care, as well as for decision makers and researchers."

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