Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a growing clinical problem and public health threat. Antibiotic use is a known risk factor for the emergence of antibiotic resistance, but demonstrating the causal link between antibiotic use and resistance is challenging. This review describes different study designs for assessing the association between antibiotic use and resistance and discusses strengths and limitations of each. Approaches to measuring antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance are presented. Important methodological issues such as confounding, establishing temporality, and control group selection are examined.