Despite widespread engagement in quality improvement activities, little is known about the designs of studies currently published in quality improvement journals. This study's goal is to establish the prevalence of the types of research conducted in articles published in journals dedicated to quality improvement. A cross-sectional analysis was performed of 145 research articles published in 11 quality improvement journals in 2011. The majority of study designs were considered pre-experimental (95%), with a small percentage of quasi-experimental and experimental designs. Of the studies that reported the results of an intervention (n = 60), the most common research designs were pre-post studies (33%) and case studies (25%). There were few randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental study designs (12% of intervention studies). These results suggest that there are opportunities for increased use of quasi-experimental study designs.