Research that collects data simultaneously from people of different ages, in contrast to a longitudinal study, which follows one group of subjects over a period of time.
A cross-sectional study is a research method where data are collected at the same time. It contrasts with the method, known as longitudinal study, where the same group of subjects is studied over time. In the longitudinal study, data can be obtained from subjects of different ages born within the same period of time. However, a confounding variable in longitudinal studies is the degree to which each person's environmental influences will vary from those of others over the period of time covered by the experiment.
Cross-sectional studies are also generally easier and less costly to carry out than longitudinal studies because all of the data can be collected at one time, and participants do not have to be contacted and asked to participate many times over the years. Additionally, crosssectional designs have the benefit of allowing all the data to be collected in a short period of time, which can provide answers to pressing questions more quickly.