Study Types in Epidemiology

Icon of dots representing a population.

Let's say you're reading a report in which researchers used a case-control study. If you're not sure what that means, this module is for you. Epidemiological studies are categorized as either descriptive or analytic, and in this module, the main elements of descriptive and analytic epidemiology and their associated study types are described briefly and clearly. In addition to case-control studies, you'll also learn about eight other commonly used study types, including the basics of each type of study and how each is used.

Suggested pre-requisites

What is Epidemiology in Public Health?
Data Interpretation for Public Health Professionals

This course is co-provided by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) and Continuing Nursing Education (UWCNE) at the University of Washington.

Target Audience

People working in the field of public health who are not epidemiologists, but who would like to increase their understanding of the epidemiological approach to health and disease.

Objectives for Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be better able to:

  • List the differences between descriptive and analytic epidemiology
  • Describe the main types of epidemiological studies and their uses
  • Identify and provide examples of person, place, and time 
  • Describe the main differences among case-control, cohort studies, and experimental studies

Additional Information

Course summary
Maximum credit available: 
  • 0.50 Contact hours
  • 0.00 Pharmacology hours at the advanced practice level

John Kobayashi, MD, MPH
Clinical Faculty, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle

Available Credit

  • 0.50 Contact hours
  • 0.00 Pharmacology hours at the advanced practice level


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