Panel studies, sometimes also referred to as prospective studies, are longitudinal surveys that collect data from the same units of analysis on multiple occasions. In psychology and the social sciences, the units are usually people, but they could also be households, firms, schools, or other entities. Each individual survey in a panel study is called a wave, and in some rare cases, a sweep. Panel studies are distinct from (a) pure cross-sectional surveys that collect information only once about that precise point in time, (b) trend data that collect data on the same topics at different points in (historic) time, always using new samples, and (c) retrospective life-course studies that collect information on past events, statuses, and their durations (e.g., family, school, or employment ...

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