Types of Designs in Health Research
In conducting a research study in health research or other areas of interest, it is very important to choose the correct design since the method chosen could affect the results and also the findings. Research approach follows research problems: the appropriate research approach is the one that best fits with your research problem (Bloomberg & Volpe (2008). The goal of all researchers is to have reliable observation which will give a better understanding of the problem to be studied. In health research, there are various types of design that are available for researcher to conduct their studies. Once the researcher identifies the research question the next step will be the selection of a research design. There are two broad areas of analytic study types in health research and they are described as experimental and observational methods. Randomized controlled trials are associated with experimental design in health research. Stolberg, Norman & Trop (2004) state that randomized controlled trial is one of the simplest but most powerful tools of research. In essence, the randomized controlled trial is a study in which people are allocated at random to receive one of several clinical interventions. The authors also state that "intervention" refers to treatment, but it should be used in a much wider sense to include any clinical maneuver offered to study participants that may have an effect on their health status. Such clinical maneuvers include prevention strategies, screening programs, diagnostic tests, interventional procedures, the setting in which health care is provided, and educational models. Stolberg, Norman & Trop (2004) explain that randomized controlled trials are used to examine the effect of interventions on particular outcomes such as death or the recurrence of disease. The authors state that some consider randomized controlled trials to be the best of all research designs, or "the most powerful tool in modern clinical research", mainly because the act of randomizing patients to receive or not receive the intervention ensures that, on average, all other possible causes are equal between the two groups.