Available Until 10/22/2027

Introduction to Research Design for Librarians*


For more information or to schedule this course, please contact Susan LaValley <sl59@buffalo.edu>.

This face-to-face course provides an overview of research study designs, including quantitative and qualitative approaches. Participants will learn the defining features of different study designs (e.g. cohort, cross-sectional, case-control, RCT’s) and the strength of evidence each design permits, as well as how to make sense of crucial information presented in article abstracts (e.g. sample size and sampling techniques, p values, confidence intervals). For librarians working with social science researchers, this course will review key features of qualitative research designs (e.g. interviews, focus groups, and participant-observations), as well as offer tools to evaluate the quality of these types of research studies. For librarians who work with the public, the course will offer tips on how to help consumers understand research findings disseminated through the popular media.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, participants will be able to identify differences in research designs, including advantages, disadvantages, and appropriateness of each design type for answering particular research questions.


Hour 1 - Intro to Research Methods: different types of study design, population sampling

Hour 2 - Basics of Data Analysis (Qualitative vs. Quantitative)

Hour 3 - Small group activity: Case Study, evaluating research articles

Hour 4 - Consumer Health: Helping laypersons understanding research findings.

MLA CE Credits: 4