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Cross-sectional design is a research method in which data are collected on more than two categories or variables at the same time and analyzed for their association. For example, a study of adult development might measure 25-, 35-, 45-, 55-, and 65-year-olds on such variables as life satisfaction, relationships, and goal attainment. The analysis involves a baseline from one value of the first variable—for example, 25-year-olds or 65-year-olds—and the measures of the other variables, to which all other groups are compared. This type of design is cost effective but weak in establishing causality.

Jeffrey G. Tucker
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