Longitudinal Studies

In general terms, longitudinal studies are research designs dealing with the problem of time and change. To give a proper definition of longitudinal studies it is necessary to follow some steps. First, it has to be acknowledged that longitudinal research is not a single technique to collect or analyze social sciences data (such as, for instance, Likert scales to survey attitudes or regression analysis). Longitudinal research is a set of techniques matched according to different objectives. Second, it is useful to contrast longitudinal with cross-sectional studies, that piece of social research not only most specialists—but also most laymen—are acquainted with. In cross-sectional studies, data are collected for each case (individuals, organizations, countries, etc.) only once; they refer to a single time interval (that is the ...

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