Okay, show of hands, who knows the difference between a cost-effectiveness study and a cost-benefit analysis? Can you explain what makes a study retrospective vs prospective? What’s the name for the study that pools the results of 2 or more studies to address a hypothesis?
Let’s admit it. Most manuscript editors are at a loss when it comes to understanding the different medical study designs, but at least a cursory knowledge in this area will help as you edit manuscripts. This month’s AMA Manual of Style quiz is on study designs. Test your knowledge in this area by answering the following sample question from the quiz:
Which type of study compares those who have had an outcome or event with those who have not?
Here’s the answer (use your mouse to highlight the text box):
Of the multiple answer options given, case-control study is the most appropriate. According to the AMA Manual of Style, “Case-control studies, which are always retrospective, compare those who have had an outcome or event (cases) with those who have not (controls). A case series “describes characteristics of a group of patients with a particular disease or patients who have undergone a particular procedure.” A cohort study “follows a group or cohort of individuals who are initially free of the outcome of interest.” Finally, a meta-analysis “is a systematic pooling of the results of 2 or more studies to address a question of interest or hypothesis.”
If you want more examples to test your knowledge on study designs, take the Study Design Quiz on the AMA Manual of Style online.—Laura King, MA, ELS