This assessment will cover the following questions:
- Define how longitudinal study is used as an assessment tool.
- Evaluate the advantages of undertaking longitudinal study.
Longitudinal study is defined as an observational research or survey of an object for long duration of time. The study utilizes same samples over years for multiple times instead of using different instances (What is a Longitudinal Study?, 2017). Report will analyse the longitudinal study as an assessment tool. Further, it will also evaluate the benefits of this analysis on various groups such as children, early year’s practitioners and others.
LONGITUDINAL STUDY AS AN ASSESSMENT TOOL
Longitudinal study can be considered as an effective assessment tool for research design. It allows detection and analysis of characteristic changes and development stages in individuals and groups from targeted population. This type of assessment is not limited to a particular instant of time rather it takes years for establishing sequences of events. The longitudinal tool evaluates the effect of a particular cause on population for several years so that it can conclude the changing effects under variable nature of cause as well (Fraley and Hudson, 2014). For example: it can study the way in which nutrition contributes in growth of a child. This study will consider same child over years to conclude the results.
Thus, longitudinal tools are efficient in describing cause and effect dependencies. Longitudinal assessment tool provides opportunities to researchers to establish dependencies between events over several years or long duration of time. Without these assessment tools, it would have been impossible to determine such “sleeper effect”. Though this tool provides above quoted significant benefits but, it is also possible that some samples may not be able to participate for such long time period. It is possible that some of them may refuse to participate or relocate to another city or nation which makes it impossible for them to take part in survey.
Similarly, in extreme critical topics of research, longitudinal method may get failed to analyse the effect on time instances which were not touched or considered. The key assessment criteria in this type of approach is that sampled population is analysed at regular time intervals over the year so that effect or development process can be evaluated (Emmett and Jones, 2015). Since these studies are continued for several years so, it is also possible that choices and qualitative aspects of individual samples may vary. The longitudinal assessment also considers this fact and re-administrate the test so that changes in participants can also be evaluated.
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BENEFITS AND IMPACT OF LONGITUDINAL STUDY ON VARIOUS GROUPSLongitudinal assessment tools have validity and more clarity because of their flexibility. They can provide several benefits to following population groups:
The longitudinal survey enables to analyse complete development and growth stages of a child. Childhood is known as the early stage of growth and development. The research through longitudinal approach enables the researchers to draw following information:
- The progress in their learning and development phase.
- Status of child learning at different instants of time and various aspects of nutrition as well as health parameters.
- Study helps to analyse changes in personality, thinking, opinions and choices of child as well as the way they react in different situations (De Onis, 2017).
- It also aims to answer the questions such as how behaviour of a child changes with age and role of social and surrounding environment in determining their behaviour.
Thus, it can be concluded that from the longitudinal studies on child psychology and behaviour, it has become easy to analyse the trends of holistic development in children and the way their behaviour, growth and personality factors change over time. Such type of studies are very useful to improve the patterns and practices of child upbringing. It also plays a key role in determining that which events contribute change to child behaviour, skills and performance. From the observations it is analysed that though the study is helpful for the analysis but its time constraints makes it ineffective. It is also analysed that though the longitudinal study answers various questions related to growth and development but its results have not been developed enough to conclude any significant improvements or innovations in the methods.
Early year’s practitionersEarly year practitioners can get significant benefits from longitudinal assessment. The study will help them to evaluate and analyse various aspects contributing in child development. With this analysis, they will be able to fulfil the requirements of children according to their needs. It is possible to make conclusion on the process through which children develops learning. This assessment is crucial for these professionals because it will help them to make better planning for future growth of the child and to evaluate if their development is in correct direction or if it requires modifications (Hill, 2017). From the survey results, practitioners can develop and improve existing guidelines on matter that how they can teach good learning method to children so that their development objectives will be achieved.
Thus, it can be concluded that by longitudinal surveys, early year practitioners will find it easy to establish emotional bond and relationships in between child, family and practitioners. If there is need of extra care then it can also be identified in early stages and these professionals can provide early interventions for the concerned issue. The practitioners will also be able to suggest and implement improvements in their practices to enhance child’s development.
Along with the children and early year practitioners, longitudinal studies and their assessment results are also beneficial for other groups such as parents, carers, multidisciplinary groups and other agencies which can contribute in assuring child development in suitable and desired direction (Baltes, Reese and Nesselroade, 2014). For example: in order to enhance the child learning, families can collaborate with multidisciplinary groups like dieticians, therapist and other health professionals. The assessment from study will help family and carers to identify factors which can slow down the growth rate and learning in children. It will also encourage the role of partnership in child’s upbringing. The methods quite effective for early year practitioners but its effectiveness seems to be less reliable for other groups. The several years of study puts a question on validity of the results. Secondly the family members have different experience as per their personal emotional thus several years study on the basis of varying emotions cannot be considered as the basis for study. Hence, the study is less suitable for this group.
Family members, practitioners and other health professionals need to work in partnership to work for eliminating the barriers in growth of targeted audience. Thus, it can be analysed that longitudinal studies are very effective for the evaluation of long term impact of any process or factor on selected group of people. Study results not only help chosen group in improving their situation but are also effective for all other stakeholders associated with the selected group (Fraley and Hudson, 2014).
From report, it can be concluded that with the help of longitudinal assessment tool, “cause and effect” relationship can be easily analysed. It is also observed from the study that this tool demonstrates patterns or changes of a variable parameter over time. Also, it has explained the changes occurring in various groups through assessment.
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- Baltes, P.B., Reese, H.W. and Nesselroade, J.R., 2014. Life-span developmental psychology: Introduction to research methods. Psychology Press.
- De Onis, M., 2017. Child growth and development. In Nutrition and Health in a Developing World (pp. 119-141). Humana Press, Cham.
- Emmett, P.M. and Jones, L.R., 2015. Diet, growth, and obesity development throughout childhood in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Nutrition reviews.73(suppl_3). pp.175-206.
- Fraley, R.C. and Hudson, N.W., 2014. Review of intensive longitudinal methods: an introduction to diary and experience sampling research.
- Hill, R., 2017. Family Development in Three Generations: A Longitudinal Study of Changing Patterns of Planning and Achievement. Routledge.