Cohort studies are the analytical design of observational studies that are epidemiologically used to identify and quantify the relationship between exposure and outcome. Due to the longitudinal design, cohort studies have several advantages over other types of observational studies. The purpose of this chapter is to cover the various characteristics of prospective cohort studies. This chapter is divided into three main sections. In the first we introduce the concept and ranking of cohort studies, as well as the advantages and disadvantages. In the second we focus on the design of cohort studies, mainly its prospective aspect, and the distinguishing features from the retrospective type. The section also covers the essential characteristics of a cohort study design and its varied applications in medical research. In the third we go over examples of prospective studies in the medical field. For each, an overview of the study design is given, along with a random selection of study findings/impact, strengths and weaknesses.
Part of the book: Cohort Studies in Health Sciences