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Longitudinal research

A Longitudinal Research Design is a design of a research on which a lot of moments are used for measuring the topic of interest. Sometimes two or more groups are used.


Longitudinal Research is one of the basic forms

Every research can be classified on three dimensions:
   1) the research design
   2) the location of data collection and
   3) the number of cases.
Together they form the research cube. With this classification 72 types of research can be distinguished.

Research Cube of Research Coaches

What makes Longitudinal Research so special

When looking at the design of a research six basic types can be distinguished. One of them is the longitudinal research design. This will be described on this page. The standard graphical model for a longitudinal research design is something like this:

The longitudinal research design

This design says: a selective list of members of a group are selected. During a period six observations are made and compared.


Some research questions with a Longitudinal Research design:

  • Is school performance a steady gradual growing process or does it have peaks up and down? 
  • Is the patient recovering from an illness or a disease? 
  • Is the patient recovering from an illness or a disease?
  • How is the growth of a company developing? 
  • How is the growth of a company developing?
  • How does the stock exchange behave during a week?
  • How does the stock exchange behave during a week?

The types of analysis are always horizontal. If you look at your database, the respondents or objects are in the first column. The selected attributes are on the first line. Even if there is only one object, the database should be organised this way. Now in comparing the scores on every observation moment, the comparison is always horizontal. With a longitudinal research design it is possible to do all the other kinds of research too. They are: explorative research, descriptive research, comparative research, evaluation research, and experimental research.


An experimental longitudinal research design

Down here a longitudinal research design with an experimental condition is depicted.

Experimental longitudinal research design

Read more about the longitudinal design in our paper: How to create research designs and conceptual models.


Related topics to longitudial research:

  • Research design for: 
    • Explorative research 
    • Descriptive research 
    • Comparative research 
    • Evaluation research
  •  Experimental research 
  • Random 
  • Matching

Deepen your knowledge and read our manual about ...

  • How to create research designs and conceptual models
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