An appropriate research design for hypotheses and purposes leads to a good quality of research results. In this review article, we summarized the types of research methods and described the characteristics of clinical trials. Research designs are categorized into observational studies and experimental ones, depending on data collecting methods. In an observational study, there are cross-sectional, cohort and case-control studies. Parallel groups design and crossover trial studies are representative designs in a randomized controlled trial study, a kind of experimental study. Clinical researchers should understand the characteristics of clinical research designs including advantages and disadvantages and choose the suitable design according to their study purposes and the nature of collected data or subjects.