What are the main features of cross sectional and longitudinal approaches

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What are the main features of cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches?

What are the main features of cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches?



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Cross-sectional study
The defining feature of a cross-sectional study is that it can compare different population groups at a single point in time. Think of it in terms of taking a snapshot. Findings are drawn from whatever fits into the frame.
The benefit of a cross-sectional study design is that it allows researchers to compare many different variables at the same time. We could, for example, look at age, gender, income and educational level in relation to walking and cholesterol levels, with little or no additional cost.

Longitudinal study
A longitudinal study, like a cross-sectional one, is observational. So, once again, researchers do not interfere with their subjects. However, in a longitudinal study, researchers conduct several observations of the same subjects over a period of time, sometimes lasting many years.
The benefit of a longitudinal study is that researchers are able to detect developments or changes in the characteristics of the target population at both the group and the individual level. The key here is that longitudinal studies extend beyond a single moment in time. As a result, they can establish sequences of events.                                                
                                                      
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