Longitudinal studies refer to the repetitive action of observing the same test participants over days, months, or even years to notice what changes and developments naturally occur. Researchers can obtain long-term insights into their customers, providing valuable information for how they interact with and experience a product or service.
What are the different types of longitudinal studies?
- Diary studies
Diary studies are where participants create “diary entries” as points of data. These diary entries can be audio, text, images, videos, or a combination of all. Diary studies are ideal for collecting participants’ behavior and reflections. They help researchers understand the user journey and how their products are being used on a day-to-day basis.
- Omnichannel studies
Omnichannel studies are when test participants complete an activity using multiple devices or applications. An omnichannel study connects all the different ways a customer can interact with a business. For example, if a customer visits a retailer’s website to check if an item is in stock at a nearby store and then visits the brick-and-mortar store to purchase that item, they have completed an omnichannel experience.
What are the pros and cons of a longitudinal study?
Researchers can follow their users in real-time and understand developing changes and patterns. As data is documented over time, you can keep track of changes in data, and there is a lower likelihood of test participants forgetting previous data.
The limitations of longitudinal studies are that they can be time-consuming and therefore, more expensive. It may take a while, sometimes years, to notice patterns in a longitudinal study. The timeframe it takes to sustain a longitudinal study can incur a high cost.