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Longitudinal Research

Longitudinal research studies individuals at multiple times during their lives, from infancy through adulthood. Longitudinal studies are helpful to understand both the typical and atypical course of children’s cognitive, language, social-emotional, and physical development. Longitudinal research is important to identify developmental skills in combination with environmental factors (identified as either risk or protective factors) that influence children’s outcomes. Finally, longitudinal research can identify early interventions that are most effective in promoting positive outcomes for children with an intellectual or developmental disability or who are at risk for developmental delay. This entry provides information about the importance of longitudinal research, advantages and disadvantages of this research, and examples of landmark studies that have influenced research, practice, and policy.

Longitudinal Design

Longitudinal research uses a research design in which ...

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