Longitudinal studies provide data about the same individual at different points in time allowing the researcher to track change at an individual level. Furthermore it could be argued that longitudinal studies can also be used to study change in the lives of organisations and institutions as well as individual people. In this essay I will be focusing on why longitudinal studies may be difficult to undertake and whether they are desirable. I will also mention the different types of longitudinal studies and why longitudinal studies are conducted. (Hakim: 1987)
There are many different type s of longitudinal studies. One of these would be individual level panel surveys where samples of individuals are tracked and interviewed. Another type of longitudinal study is household panel surveys. This is where individuals are monitored within the contexts of the household where they live. Additionally, in this type of survey, information is normally collected about the whole household at each wave.
Furthermore cohort studies can be categorised as one of the types of longitudinal studies. This consists of studies where samples from a particular age variety are followed to investigate their different trajectories as they age. Also, longitudinal studies which are linked across time can be record linkage studies and administrative or census data. (Hakim: 1987) (Miles et al: 1994)
Carib Studies Ia Essay Sample
Longitudinal studies Longitudinal studies Longitudinal studies
Many argue that the United Kingdom has always taken a prominent role in the development of longitudinal studies and this can be reflected through the numerous types of longitudinal studies such as the Official for National Statistics, Longitudinal Study of the Census and the British Household Panel Survey to just name a few. It could be argued that these studies provide an understanding of social change, of the trajectories of individual life histories and the dynamic processes that underlie social and economic life. Furthermore many claim that their important role in social science and policy research is the core for the continued investment in longitudinal studies in the U.K.
This can be seen as one of the main reasons why longitudinal studies are desirable to undertake. Many argue that longitudinal studies are desirable to undertake as they can address issues and support methods in ways that are not possible with traditional cross-sectional approaches. In addition it’s particularly important and valuable in research areas where the emphasis is directly on change and the occurrence are themselves intrinsically longitudinal such as poverty, employment instability and social attitudes.
Also longitudinal studies may be desirable when investigating causal process as determining whether or not certain factors affect a variable for example the effects of unemployment on mental health. Furthermore, supports of the longitudinal design argue that longitudinal studies are desirable in the area when controlling for the effects of unmeasured fixed differences between subjects and also is valuable when studying social change and needing to separate out age, period and cohort effects.
Lastly favourites of the longitudinal design claim that longitudinal studies are desirable in a number of research areas where establishing the effect of treatment by following an experimental design or quasi-experimental design or for example comparing periods before and after the introduction of public policy. Evidence illustrates that these advantages have been used for a wide range for important research findings. The first can be in finding the effects on children of school and family background in order to understand social mobility and the effectiveness of educational interventions as well as to identify the key points for intervention. Secondly the longitudinal studies have been able to examine the effects of changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation and childbirth on the time children are likely to spend in lone parent families and furthermore the effects on their later lives.
Moreover the features of longitudinal studies have been able to illustrate the defining characteristics of people who experience repeated spells of unemployment and poverty. And also highlight their effects which many argue make it difficult for people to find work and or maybe escape poverty in the future. As it has been argued, longitudinal studies collect data about different times in individuals’ lives, and across generations, linking evidence from different points in the lives of parents and children. Furthermore this capacity to follow individuals through time and observe how experiences and behaviour is influenced by the wider social and economical contexts in which they find themselves. (Hakim: 1987) (Miles et al: 1994) (Phillips: 1966) (Vaus: 2001)