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Dictionary

PANEL STUDY

John Bynner

In some social science literature a panel study comprises any form of longitudinal inquiry, of which the longitudinal cohort study is a special case. More generally, the panel study refers not to a single cohort followed up through time, but the monitoring over time of a cross-section of a population, that is to say, multiple cohorts of different ages. This usually involves replacement of panel members as they leave the study through no longer meeting age criteria or movement or refusal. Examples include household panel studies, audience research panels and product testing panels. Cross-sectional sample surveys provide descriptive estimates of the parameters of a particular population. In repeated cross-sectional surveys, such estimates provide a means of gauging the extent to which society is changing – ‘net effects’. Panel studies extend the monitoring over time to the individual sample members, enabling the investigation of the interactions of societal change with personal ...

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