Advantages of Disadvantages of Longitudinal Studies

Longitudinal studies are a type of research study or survey that is primarily observational. This means that a longitudinal study does not involve interference with the subjects of the study in any form. This type of study is also unique due to the fact that it has a timeline that is completely dependent on respondents. This means that collecting all data from a longitudinal study could take years depending on the exact timetable in place. Longitudinal studies are primarily used by psychologists that are looking to determine or measure the impact therapy can have over time. Most studies done using longitudinal studies involve long time frames. The research gained can span years and involves vast amounts of data.

3 Types of Longitudinal Studies

The 3 primary types of longitudinal studies include panel, cohort and retrospective. A panel longitudinal study involves using subjects that are chosen at random. Cohort longitudinal studies involves selecting subjects based on one similar trait or factor. Finally, retroactive studies involve the use of historical data among populations of subjects.

Advantages of Longitudinal Studies

There are a few benefits that can only be gained by using a longitudinal study. This type of study is unique and has an advantage over other research options.

Determine Patterns

Since longitudinal studies involve using and collecting data from long periods of time, they can be helpful in determining patterns. It is possible to learn more about cause and effect relationships through these type of research studies and connections can be made more clearly. More data over longer periods of time allows for better and more concise results. These studies are high in validity and are great for picking up long-term changes.

Disadvantages of Longitudinal Studies

Even though there can be some benefits that can be gained from the use of longitudinal studies, there are a few major drawbacks. The disadvantages involving longitudinal studies should be known before you choose this data collecting method.


Time is a huge drawback to any longitudinal study, because it takes so much time to collect all the data that is needed. It takes a long period of time to gather results before the patterns can even begin to be made. Time is a major issue involving this type of study.

Large Sample Size Required

Another disadvantage is that longitudinal studies also require larger sample sizes. This means that your study must have a large number of cooperating subjects.