Many different research designs exist, each with a specific purpose and with strengths and limitations. Try to choose the most rigorous one for your question. Below are two editorials that concisely outline this process. Access both online at the Consortium Library.
Identifying the best research design to fit the question. Part 1. Quantitative Designs By Jackie Roberts. Evidence-Based Nursing, 2(1):4-6, 1999.
Identifying the best research design to fit the question. Part 2. Qualitative Designs. By Jenny Ploeg. Evidence-Based Nursing, 2(2):36-37, 1999.
|Clinical Question||Research Design|
|Effectiveness of Prevention/treatment interventions||Systematic review, RCT, cohort study|
|Harm, causation||Case control, cohort study|
|Meaning / Experience Question||Research Design|
|Investigate culture of a group of people||Ethnography|
|Explore deeper understanding of meaning of lived experience (how it feels)||Phenomenology|
|Symbolic meaning related to human interactions and consequences||Grounded theory|
|Studies, ideas, or issues in a group setting||Focus groups|