Study designs in dermatology: A review for the clinical dermatologist

Jonathan I. Silverberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A working knowledge of common research study designs and their advantages and disadvantages is necessary for critical reading of the literature by clinicians. However, understanding study designs and related statistical methodologies may be perceived as being complex and difficult to execute. This review aims to provide a practical foundation for basic study designs and to help physicians identify pitfalls that commonly occur in clinical studies and their level of evidence. Topics covered include the pros and cons of observational versus prospectively controlled studies, case-control, cohort, randomized controlled studies, adaptive controlled trials and metaanalyses, and the role of matching in studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-731
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • adaptive controlled trials
  • bias
  • case-control study
  • cohort study
  • cross-sectional study
  • epidemiology
  • matching
  • metaanalysis
  • observational study
  • prospectively controlled study
  • randomized controlled study
  • retrospective
  • study design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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