Skip to Main Content

Evidence Based Medicine: Types of Questions

Type of Questions

Type of question and the type of study are the two  elements of a well-built clinical question. This  can be helpful in focusing the question and determining the most appropriate type of evidence or study.


Most common type of questions: Type of study:
how to select and interpret diagnostic tests
prospective, blind comparison to a gold standard or cross-sectional
how to select treatments that do more good than harm and that are worth the efforts and costs of using them
randomized controlled trial > cohort study
how to estimate the patient’s likely clinical course over time (based on factors other than the intervention) and anticipate likely complications of disease
cohort study > case control > case series
how to identify causes for disease (including iatrogenic forms)
cohort > case control > case series