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Researchers frequently want to assess the effect of antecedent variables on subsequent behaviors or clinical outcomes. Researchers can measure variables of interest at a single point in time or can follow participants across time. When investigators follow participants forward in time, they are using a prospective research design. This entry discusses prospective research design, its advantages and disadvantages, and related research designs.

Related Research Designs

Prospective research designs stand in contrast to two other cohort designs: (1) retrospective designs and (2) case-control designs. Retrospective research involves investigators identifying a group that exhibits a behavior or condition of interest and a group that does not, in an attempt to identify prior variables related to the outcome that differ across groups. Case-control research involves investigators identifying people who display ...

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