Longitudinal Research Approach

Longitudinal Research Approach – Types, Examples, and Techniques

What Is Longitudinal Research Approach?

A longitudinal research approach is a kind of observational research approach in which factors are examined over a substantial amount of time. The longitudinal research approach can extend years in some circumstances. A longitudinal survey can provide practical information when you have the time to devote to a lengthy research study and use this strategy. Observing the interconnections of multiple parameters in your research sample, subjecting them to diverse possible causes, and recording the results of this exposure is what a longitudinal research approach entails.

Is Longitudinal Study Qualitative or Quantitative?

As the researcher examines and analyzes variables, longitudinal research approaches are largely qualitative. Based on your research setting, they can also be utilized to collect quantitative data. In the humanities and among legislators, there is a significant trend and participation in qualitative research methodologies since they recognize that analysis methods might provide answers to ‘what’ inquiries but leave them in the dark regarding ‘why’ and ‘how. Because of its emphasis on contextual and specificities, qualitative research is particularly well suited to investigating procedures. The exploration and understanding variation across time and activity in social contexts is the foundation of the qualitative longitudinal research approach. The way time is included in the qualitative research differentiates longitudinal qualitative research from other qualitative methodologies, allowing change a prominent effect for research.

Longitudinal qualitative research can investigate a wide range of contexts and situations today. Such methodologies can represent the processes and mechanisms of inter-cohort and intra-cohort diversity courtesy to deliberate planning. Longitudinal qualitative methods thus extend the information of socially embedded disparities in growth and maturation to new heights.

Types of Longitudinal Research

Experts of a masters dissertation help service have shared the following three primary categories of longitudinal studies:

1.            Panel Study:

In a panel study, the information will be gathered from a defined variety of parameters at regular but distant intervals, sometimes across a few years, using data gathering techniques such as questionnaires. It is generally designed for quantitative research, although it can also analyze qualitative data, and it aids in detecting the elements that cause variations in a research sample. It also enables you to see how these modifications affect the attributes of the variables and the necessary information at multiple moments in their current connection.

2.            Retrospective Study:

In a retrospective study, the researcher draws on pre-processed data through experimental investigations to uncover factors contributing to the study’s conclusions. A retrospective study, in other words, investigates backwards. It investigates responses to potential risks about a predetermined outcome. Retrospective studies are conducted on a smaller scale and take less time to finish.

3.            Cohort Study:

A cohort study involves gathering data from people that share similar characteristics or have encountered a similar event at the same time. During a cohort study, the researcher introduces some group members to a particular trait or risk factor. It also enables you to investigate many results linked to a single predictor. Cohort studies are intended to assist you in determining all your variables in the study.

Longitudinal Research Design Technique

If you desire to do a longitudinal study, you have two options: collect your data or use data that has already been collected.

1.    Collecting your data

Since you can trust your data, gathering your data is more reliable. The method you use to gather information is also affected by the characteristics of the study you are undertaking. If you perform a retrospective study, you will need to gather information on past events. You collect information in real for a prospective study. This entails identifying a study sample, tracking them, and reporting your results throughout the qualitative research.

2.       Using data from other sources

Many organizations and academic institutions conduct longitudinal research approaches and make the results openly accessible to the public. As a result, you can utilize their already investigated material and apply it to your research. It is not just simple to use existing data; it also makes it possible to perform research over a lengthy amount of time. Because you can only use the given dataset accessible to you, this strategy has several shortcomings. You must also verify the source of the information you have been given.

Longitudinal Research Design Examples:

Now that you have a basic understanding of how researchers employ longitudinal studies in a variety of areas, consider the following examples:

 Example 1: Identical twins

Considering a study that investigated the similarities and contrasted between identical twins raised together and those who were not. Several factors are observed in the study, but one consistency is that all the individuals have identical twins. In this example, researchers would want to follow these individuals from child to adult to see how their features, behaviours, and mindsets change as they grow up in different surroundings. Researchers can observe both sets of twins as they go through life without interference over a long period. Because the participants share the same DNA, any variations are due to environmental variables, but only a thorough investigation can verify these claims.

Example 2: Violence and video games

A group of experts is looking into a connection between video game violence and usage. They gather a large number of people for the research. The experts record how violent the research participants are at the beginning. It establishes a baseline against which future assessments can be made.
The researchers will now give each participant a diary to record how often and how regularly they play video games and how much time they spend doing so. This research could last months or even years. The researcher can compare violent tendencies to video game-playing behaviours throughout this time. As a result, researchers are looking into whether there is a relationship between violence and video games.


A longitudinal research approach can find relationships between factors unrelated to other factors in the background. This observational study method entails following the same group of people for a long time. Information is collected at the commencement of the experiment and may be collected again throughout the research. Longitudinal research approaches are a sort of research method that is typically descriptive. Cross-sectional research is frequently contrasted with a longitudinal study. Cross-sectional analysis collects data at a fixed moment, whereas the longitudinal research approach collects data over a prolonged period.

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