Using longitudinal data for research

Using longitudinal data for research


Each time longitudinal studies collect
new information about their participants they are adding rich new data to what we
already know about them. Longitudinal studies allow us to see how key life
events, like marriage, having a baby, or losing a job can change the course of a
person’s life. They also help to show us how patterns of behaviour change as people get older, for example, how smoking, drinking, and diet change over time. The studies reveal how the circumstances that someone faces early in their life
have an impact on later outcomes. For example, we know from longitudinal
studies that experiencing poverty in childhood can affect a person’s
educational attainment, or their physical and mental health many years later. Being able to answer questions like these mean that longitudinal
studies can be vital sources of evidence for policy-making in areas, such as health,
education, and employment.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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