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Cross sectional design

Category : Data collection
Date : June 13, 2014

A cross sectional design is a collection of data pertaining to more than one case and simultaneously for the purpose of collecting quantifiable data in connection with two or variables to detect patterns of association after their examination.

The cross sectional design is usually called a social survey design, but the concept of a social survey is associated in peoples mind as a questionnaire based and structured interviewing method so therefore the term cross sectional is preferred.

The salient features of a cross sectional design:

  • More than one case: here the researchers are interested in variation which could be in regard to people, organisations, nation states, etc. it is possible to establish variation when only there are many cases. Researchers can here make good distinction between different cases and their requirement to for sampling procedure facilitates large numbers.
  • At a single point in time: simultaneously data on the interested variables is collected. After an individual completes the questionnaire containing fifty or more variables, the responses are provided almost the same time. This has contrast with experimental design. Basically in cross sectional design an individual is pre-tested, after which exposed to an experimental treatment and also then post tested. It can stretch up to days, months, and even years at times.
  • Quantitative or quantifiable data: it is important to have a systematic and standardised method for gauging variation for the purpose of establishing variation between cases. The advantage to the researcher is that it serves as benchmark.
  • Patterns of association: here it is only possible to examine relationships between variables.

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