The field of acupuncture research and study design is complex; more complex than other research fields. Complex in the way that any hands-on clinical interaction is complex from a research standpoint, not dissimilar to clinical research in the fields of chiropractic, massage, health psychology, and physical therapy.
For a great, 10 minute overview of the field of acupuncture research, check out Mel Hopper Koppleman's YouTube video. Useful for hospital administrators, hospital program sponsors, all East Asian Medicine (acupuncture) practitioners, and the beginning researcher. Remember, for those of you who are researchers, this is the 10 minute version. For more in-depth learning, you may be interested in the "Researcher's Resource list", a pdf with recommendations from the Hospital Practice Handbook community (because many good references are not books or available on Amazon).
You can see even more impressive work on reviews of East Asian Medicine research (which includes acupuncture) at the new website, Evidence-Based Acupuncture.