Prospective Protocols


Prospective study designs generally come in two flavors, prospective cohort and randomized controlled trials. Prospective cohort studies are usually observational in nature, although there are some comparative prospective trials that are non-randomized. One of the advantages of prospective studies over retrospective designs is more control of which variables are measured and how they are measured. One disadvantage of prospective studies is that to get 10 years of follow-up, you need to hang around for 10 years.

The holiest of all research designs, of course, is the randomized controlled trial. In general, this is the best way to compare two treatments with one another. Common drawbacks to these designs are their expense and the length of time it takes to run them. Additionally, sometimes it is not ethical to conduct a study as a randomized controlled trial. Be sure to contact the GRMEP Research Department for advice on selecting your study design.

Before You Begin

All research studies must have a written protocol. This is required by the IRB, gives you a cookbook for running your study and provides the groundwork for more than half of the material you will need for your manuscript. This last point is very important as some programs are expecting a manuscript prior to graduation. In addition, publications are extremely important when applying for competitive fellowships.

Prospective Protocol Template