Longitudinal studies

From Wiki 4 Men
(Redirected from Longitudinal study)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Longitudinal studies are research studies that involve repeated observations of the same variables, typically over long periods of time.[1]

Longitudinal studies are often used in social-personality and clinical psychology, to study rapid fluctuations in behaviors, thoughts, and emotions from moment to moment or day to day; in developmental psychology, to study developmental trends across the life span; and in sociology, to study life events throughout lifetimes or generations; and in consumer research and political polling to study consumer trends. The reason for this is that, unlike cross-sectional studies, in which different individuals with the same characteristics are compared, longitudinal studies track the same people, and so the differences observed in those people are less likely to be the result of cultural differences across generations, that is, the cohort effect. Longitudinal studies thus make observing changes more accurate and 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. 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.[2]

Longitudinal studies can be retrospective (looking back in time, thus using existing data such as medical records or claims database) or prospective (requiring the collection of new data).[3]

Cohort studies are one type of longitudinal study which sample a cohort (a group of people who share a defining characteristic, typically who experienced a common event in a selected period, such as birth or graduation) and perform cross-section observations at intervals through time. However, not all longitudinal studies are cohort studies, as longitudinal studies can instead include a group of people who do not share a common event.[4]

Longitudinal studies and meta-analyses offer the most compelling results and should be cited in advocacy in preference to individual studies.


Longitudinal studies include:


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 also of observing the temporal order of events.[5]

Longitudinal studies do not require large numbers of participants (as in the examples below). Qualitative longitudinal studies may include only a handful of participants, and longitudinal pilot or feasibility studies often have fewer than 100 participants.[6]

Longitudinal studies are often periodic meaning that researchers are free to pursue other research when not gathering data for their longitudinal studies.[7]


Longitudinal studies often operate over an extended period and are expensive. Few research institutions may have the resources or intent to commit to an expensive and long-term study. In some cases no results are available for years.[8]

Some longitudinal studies continue for so long that the research team completely changes over time.[9]

Longitudinal studies cannot avoid attrition effect among subjects. Under longitudinal research methods, the loss of the research sample will bias the remaining small sample. Longitudinal studies tend to be biased by the fact that subjects repeat the same procedure many times, and their performance will be improved or decreased.[10] This is not relevant for results results pertinent to domestic violence.

See Also

This article contains information imported from the English Wikipedia. In most cases the page history will have details. If you need information on the importation and have difficulty obtaining it please contact the site administrators. Wikipedia shows a strong woke bias. Text copied over from Wikipedia can be corrected and improved.

External Links