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Clinical Study Types - for Librarians

Definitions: Cohort Studies

PubMed: Studies in which subsets of a defined population are identified. These groups may or may not be exposed to factors hypothesized to influence the probability of the occurrence of a particular disease or other outcome. Cohorts are defined populations which, as a whole, are followed in an attempt to determine distinguishing subgroup characteristics.

Wikipedia: Cohort studies differ from clinical trials in that no intervention, treatment, or exposure is administered to participants in a cohort design; and no control group is defined. Rather, cohort studies are largely about the life histories of segments of populations, and the individual people who constitute these segments 


Sum it up:  Cohort studies are observational studies in which two groups (or arms, or cohorts) are observed.  Often (always?) prospective, not retrospective, and sometimes studies are labelled "prospective cohort studies."




Here are some examples of articles tagged with the MeSH term for Cohort studies:

  • Korean frailty and aging cohort study (KFACS): cohort profile
  • The all age asthma cohort (ALLIANCE) - from early beginnings to chronic disease: a longitudinal cohort study.
  •  NASCITA Italian birth cohort study: a study protocol.

Where This MeSH Term Can Be Found in the MeSH 'Tree'

Consider Asking the Researcher

You may want to ask your researchers if they would like you to also search for retrospective studies.  Retrospective studies are a type of cohort study, but should therefore be caught with the MeSH term Cohort studies.  But it might be worth searching on the keyword "retrospective" as well.

Maps and Directions