Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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Cohort study

core definition

A cohort study is a longitudinal study that follows a cohort of subjects over a fairly long period of time to watch how they develop in different social settings.

explanatory context

An example is a cohort study of pre-school children to see how their life experiences differ and the impact that has at different periods of their life; such as at the key ages of 7, 14 and 21.

analytical review

The NHS Health News Glossary, (NHS, undated) states:

Cohort study: This study identifies a group of people and follows them over a period of time to see how their exposures affect their outcomes. This type of study is normally used to look at the effect of suspected risk factors that can't be controlled experimentally – for example, the effect of smoking on lung cancer.


associated issues

Cohort effect: effects on people's lives that arise from the characteristics of the historical periods during which they experienced stages of life such as childhood or middle age.

related areas

See also

longitudinal study


NHS, undated, Health News Glossary, available at, accessed 26 November 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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