Longitudinal Study

A longitudinal study is a correlational research study that involves repeated observations of the same variables over long periods of time — often many decades. It is a type of observational study. Longitudinal studies are often used in psychology to study developmental trends across the life span, and in sociology to study life events throughout lifetimes or generations. The reason for this is that unlike cross-sectional studies, in which different individuals with same characteristics are compared, longitudinal studies track the same people, and therefore the differences observed in those people are less likely to be the result of cultural differences across generations. Because of this benefit, longitudinal studies make observing changes more accurate, and they are applied in various other fields. In medicine, the design is used to uncover predictors of certain diseases. In advertising, the design is used to identify the changes that advertising has produced in the attitudes and behaviors of those within the target audience who have seen the advertising campaign.

Because most longitudinal studies are observational, in the sense that they observe the state of the world without manipulating it, it has been argued that they may have less power to detect causal relationships than do experiments. But because of the repeated observation at the individual level, they have more power than cross-sectional observational studies, by virtue of being able to exclude time-invariant unobserved individual differences, and by virtue of observing the temporal order of events. Some of the disadvantages of longitudinal study include the fact that it takes a lot of time and is very expensive. Therefore, it is not very convenient.

Longitudinal studies allow social scientists to distinguish short from long-term phenomena, such as poverty. If the poverty rate is 10% at a point in time, this may mean that 10% of the population are always poor, or that the whole population experiences poverty for 10% of the time. It is not possible to conclude which of these possibilities is the case using one-off cross-sectional studies.

Types of longitudinal studies include cohort studies and panel studies. Cohort studies sample a cohort, defined as a group experiencing some event (typically birth) in a selected time period, and studying them at intervals through time. Panel studies sample a cross-section, and survey it at (usually regular) intervals.

A retrospective study is a longitudinal study that looks back in time. For instance a researcher may look up the medical records of previous years to look for a trend.

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Other articles related to "longitudinal study, study, longitudinal":

UK Households: A Longitudinal Study
... The UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) is now known as Understanding Society ... The study is mainly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and led by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex ... As a panel survey, Understanding Society is a form of longitudinal study which means that the survey consists of information about the same individuals at regular intervals and so can be used to track ...
Timeline Of Psychology - Twentieth Century - 1970s
1972 – The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a longitudinal study began, with 96% retention rate as of 2006, unprecedented for a longitudinal study, comparing to 20–40 ... of Mind, using the subtractive method of Franciscus Donders to study attention and memory ... Alexander Thomas published Temperament and Development, a longitudinal study on the importance of temperament for the development of personality and behavioral problems ...
Semi-retired - Data Sets
... The most prominent study for examining retirement behavior in the United States is the ongoing Health and Retirement Study (HRS), first fielded in 1992 ... The HRS is a nationally representative longitudinal survey of adults in the U.S. 2002 and 2004 saw the introductions of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHAR ...
Health And Retirement Study
... The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is conducted by the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and supported by the ... The study interviews 22,000 Americans 50 and over every two years on subjects like health care, housing, assets, pensions, employment and disability ... The study is managed through a cooperative agreement (NIA U01AG009740) between the NIA, which provides primary funding, and the ISR, which administers and conducts the survey ...

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