Longitudinal studies help to paint a
clearer picture of society by helping us understand how life is changing. They observe the same groups of people repeatedly over a period of time. Birth cohort studies follow groups of people born at a particular time. Every few years researchers contact these people to ask them questions about their lives. In household panel studies whole households are surveyed, including parents and their children. Study members are interviewed every few years to show how life is changing in homes across Britain. When designing a study
researchers might be interested in the population as a whole,
or they might select a group of people based on factors such as their age, or
health. Data can be collected from study members face-to-face, on the phone, by
post, or online. Many also take part in health and cognitive assessments. Information from the studies helps to improve people’s lives by informing
government policy in areas such as health, education, and employment.