What Are the Disadvantages of Longitudinal Studies?
1. There is a factor of unpredictability always present.
2. Because longitudinal studies involve the same subjects over a long period, what happens to them outside of the data collection moments can influence future data being collected. Some people may choose to stop participating in the research. Others may no longer find themselves in the correct demographics for the research. If these factors are not included in the initial design of the research, then it could invalidate the findings that are produced.
3. It takes time.
Researchers involved with longitudinal studies may never see the full outcome of their work. It may take several years before the data begins producing observable patterns or relationships that can be tracked. That means the ability to maintain open lines of communication with al researchers is vitally important to the eventual success of the study.
4. The data gathered by longitudinal studies is not always accurate or reliable.
It only takes one piece of unreliable or inaccurate data to possibly invalidate the findings that the longitudinal studies produce. Because humans have their own personal bias toward certain subjects the researcher processing the data may unconsciously alter the data to produce intended results.
5. It relies on the skills of the researchers to be complete.
Because data collection occurs in real-time and relies heavily on the skills of the researchers, who are tasked with this job, the quality of the data is heavily reliant on those skills. Two different researchers with varying skill levels can produce very different data points from the same subject material. Personal views of the data being collected can also impact the results on both ends, from the subject or the collector.
6. Large sample sizes are required to make the research meaningful.
To develop relationships or patterns, a large amount of data must be collected and then mined to create results. That means larger sample size is required so the amount of data being collected can meet expectations. When the subjects being studied are people, it can be difficult to find enough people who are willing to honestly participate in the longitudinal studies.
7. There is a direct cost that is higher than other forms of research.
Longitudinal research requires a larger sample size, which means thee is a larger cost involved in contacting subjects to collect data Its also a long-term form of research, which means the costs of the study will be extended for years, or decades, when other forms of research may be completed in a fraction of that time.
8. One person can change a long-term outcome.
Because there is such a reliance on individual interpretations within longitudinal studies. it is possible for one person to inadvertently alter or invalidate the data being collected. It is entirely possible for decades of research to be invalidated because one subject or researcher was misleading.
1 Identical twins
Consider a study conducted to understand the similarities or differences between identical twins who are brought up together versus identical twins who were not. The study observes several variables, but the constant is that all the participants have identical twins. n this case, researchers would want to observe these participants from childhood to adulthood, to understand how growing up indifferent environments influences traits, habits, and personality. Over many years, researchers can see both sets of twins as they experience life without intervention. Because the participants share the same genes, it is assumed that any differences are due to environmental factors, but only an attentive study can conclude those assumptions.
2. Violence and video games
A group of researchers is studying whether there is a link between violence and video game usage. They collect large sample of participants for the study. To reduce the amount of interference with their natural habits, these individuals come from a population that already plays video games. The age group is focused on teenagers (13-19 years old). The researchers record how prone to violence participants in the sample are at the onset. It creates a baseline for later comparisons. Now the researchers will give a log to each participant to keep track of how much and how frequently they play and how much time they spend playing video games. This study can go on for months or years. During this time, the researcher can compare video game-playing behaviors with violent tendencies. Thus, investigating whether there is a link between violence and video games.
Conducting a longitudinal study with surveys is straightforward and applicable to almost any discipline. With our survey software you can easily start your own survey today. Longitudinal studies are often used in social-personality and clinical psychology, to study rapid fluctuations in behaviors, thoughts, and emotions from moment to moment or day to day; in developmental psychology, to study developmental trends across the life span; and in sociology, to study life events throughout lifetimes or generations; and in consumer research and political poling to study consumer trends. The reason for this is that, unlike coss-sectional studies, in which different individuals with the same characteristics are compared, longitudinal studies track the same people, and so the differences observed in those people are less likely to be the result of cultural differences across generations. Longitudinal studies thus make observing changes more accurate and are applied in various other fields. In medicine, the design is used to uncover predictors of certain diseases. In advertising, the design is used to identify the changes that advertising has produced in the attitudes and behaviors of those within the target audience who have seen the advertising campaign.