Study designs

In this course the students will understand the concepts of different study designs including their advantages and disadvantages. Students will learn to distinguish between descriptive and analytic epidemiology as well as prospective and retrospective studies. Also, student will become familiar with several types of epidemiologic observational studies based on e.g. type of sampling, exposure and or disease. Student will learn the advantages and disadvantages of case series and cross sectional studies.
Furthermore, the main principles and practice of cohort (follow-up) and case control studies will be addressed. The course will focus on the classical approach but also addresses modern concepts. The practice of conducting cohort and case-control studies will be discussed with emphasis on issues of validity.


Dr. A.J.M. de Craen

ECTS credits


Course level


Classes (1.5 hrs.)

8 - Fridays 14.00-16.00


4 January-19 February 2016


Understanding of the main concepts of study designs in general
Ability to design a cohort or case-control study given a research question
Ability to discuss research papers with respect to aspects of both internal and external validity

Teaching format

Lectures, self-study assignments, group discussions

Learning outcome

Acquisition of a thorough understanding of principles of study design which will enable students to perform and/or critically appraise (other) scientific research projects


These courses lead up to writing of a research article


Closed; only for MSc Vitality and Ageing students