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Research Paper Working Papers of the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change 25

Using household panels to study micro- social change

Authors

Publication date

01 Jul 1993

Abstract

The paper provides an introduction to the research potential of household panel studies in general, and the British Household Panel, in particular. The relative strengths of longitudinal and cross sectional analysis are discussed. Panel studies however, are only one type of longitudinal design and the advantages and disadvantages of panels are discussed, in comparison to repeated cross sections and retrospective designs. Panel studies have a number of analytical advantages. First they make it possible to distinguish transitory and persistent phenomena, and to disaggregate net change. Second, panel data can help disentangle ambiguities in causal relations by providing temporal ordering. Third, they allow researchers to take into acccount the timing (in terms of age, or life course stage) and the duration of conditions and experiences, both of which are crucial for understanding social continuity and change.

Subjects

Demography and Sociology Of Households

Notes

working paper; The paper provides an introduction to the research potential of household panel studies in general, and the British Household Panel, in particular. The relative strengths of longitudinal and cross sectional analysis are discussed. Panel studies however, are only one type of longitudinal design and the advantages and disadvantages of panels are discussed, in comparison to repeated cross sections and retrospective designs. Panel studies have a number of analytical advantages. First they make it possible to distinguish transitory and persistent phenomena, and to disaggregate net change. Second, panel data can help disentangle ambiguities in causal relations by providing temporal ordering. Third, they allow researchers to take into acccount the timing (in terms of age, or life course stage) and the duration of conditions and experiences, both of which are crucial for understanding social continuity and change.; Household panels have the additional feature of collecting personal data from each adult member. This enables analysts to explore the strong independencies of family choices and constraints; to investiagte the impact of various life events on household members; and to examine the contextual processes that determine individual transitions, life trajectories and inter generational change.


Related publications

  1. Using household panels to study micro-social change -article-

    Jacqueline Scott

    1. Demography
    2. Households
    3. Survey Methodology

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