Measurement and design for life course studies of individual differences and development
© Oxford University Press, 2014. All Rights Reserved. This chapter reviews methods for studying individual differences across the life course. It starts from the position that even when a life course study is basically observational or descriptive, there is an underlying concern to understand more about causality. There are two aspects of research methods that have to be considered in designing a life course study: study design and measurement of individuals. Under the first heading the chapter describes observational and quasi-experimental designs for life course research. A section on genetically informative designs describes a range of options for increasing the genetic information that can be obtained from life course research. The section on capturing individual differences discusses continuous versus categorical measurement, the timing of measurements, the range of information that can be collected, and nonintrusive methods for collecting individual life course information. A section on biological information discusses applications of molecular genetics and psychoneuroendocrinology to life course research.
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