panel study


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panel study

a technique for investigating change over time in the attitudes or opinions of a SAMPLE of people. This is a form of LONGITUDINAL STUDY, but is usually distinguished as being of shorter duration or more focused. It involves questioning the same sample at (regular) intervals to observe trends of opinion, e.g. voting intention and party preference before, during and after an election. As with any longitudinal study, this method may possess advantage compared with CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDIES, since the sample members remain constant, and change can be monitored using data gathered before and after it. Against this, some respondents may be lost through death, removal or lack of interest, and those that remain may become atypical through the experience of being panel members (compare HAWTHORNE EFFECT).
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