Epidemiologic case-control studies are used to identify factors that may contribute to a medical condition. Epidemiological studies are categorized as either descriptive or analytic. This course describes the main elements of descriptive and analytic epidemiology and their associated study types briefly and clearly. In addition to case-control studies, you'll also learn about eight other commonly used study types, including the basics of each type of study and how each is used. This is part of a nine-part series on epidemiology.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • List the differences between descriptive and analytic epidemiology
  • Describe the main types of epidemiologic studies and their uses
  • Identify and provide examples of person, place, and time in descriptive studies
  • Describe the main differences among case-control, cohort studies, and environmental studies

Intended Audience

Public health professionals who want to increase their familiarity with the basic concepts of epidemiology. It is recommended that people be familiar with material presented in the following module: Data Interpretation for Public Health Professionals.

Epidemiology Series

Data Interpretation for Public Health Professionals

Basic Infectious Disease Concepts in Epidemiology

Introduction to Public Health Surveillance

Introduction to Outbreak Investigation

Study Types in Epidemiology

Measuring Risk in Epidemiology

Cause and Effect in Epidemiology

Screening in Public Health Practice


Web-based, Flash presentation. This online course has audio narration and interactive exercises and scenarios. This course should take about 30 minutes to complete.

Course Instructor

John Kobayashi, PhD, MPH
Clinical Assistant Professor
Northwest Center for Public Health Practice
University of Washington School of Public Health

Technical Requirements

This course requires certain software and browser plugins to be installed. See our Technical Requirements.


This online training course is audio narrated. A print version is available in the Supplemental Material section at the bottom of this page. Please note that the print version does not include interactive exercises, quizzes, or the final assessment. To receive a print version of the quizzes in this course, or if you have any difficulties, please contact

Screenshot of training depicting its navigation, text, and graphics.
January 29, 2008
Infectious Disease & Immunizations
Self-Paced Course
30 minutes
Competency Domains: 
Analytical/Assessment Skills
Policy Development/Program Planning Skills
Public Health Sciences Skills