Strengths and weaknesses

The strengths and weaknesses of case-control studies are summarised below. Click each heading to find out more.
  • Usually cheap and quick to conduct
  • Ethically safe
  • Good for studying diseases with long latency periods
  • Efficient for the study of rare diseases
  • Good to examine multiple exposures
  • Particularly prone to bias; especially selection, recall and observer bias
  • Limited to examining one outcome
  • Unable to estimate incidence rates of disease (unless study is population based)
  • Poor choice for study of rare exposures
  • Can examine associations but cannot establish causality
  • Non-response may lead to biased results