Question: What are the key characteristics of the cohort study design and its varied applications, and how can this research design be utilized in health sciences librarianship?
Data Sources: The health, social, behavioral, biological, library, earth, and management sciences literatures were used as sources.
Study Selection: All fields except for health sciences librarianship were scanned topically for either well-known or diverse applications of the cohort design. The health sciences library literature available to the author principally for the years 1990 to 2000, supplemented by papers or posters presented at annual meetings of the Medical Library Association.
Data Extraction: A narrative review for the health, social, behavioral, biological, earth, and management sciences literatures and a systematic review for health sciences librarianship literature for the years 1990 to 2000, with three exceptions, were conducted. The author conducted principally a manual search of the health sciences librarianship literature for the years 1990 to 2000 as part of this systematic review.
Main Results: The cohort design has been applied to answer a wide array of theoretical or practical research questions in the health, social, behavioral, biological, and management sciences. Health sciences librarianship also offers several major applications of the cohort design.
Conclusion: The cohort design has great potential for answering research questions in the field of health sciences librarianship, particularly evidence-based librarianship (EBL), although that potential has not been fully explored.