Skip to main content

Analysing the dynamics of change: Using longitudinal, panel and cross-sectional studies to investigate complex social, environmental and technological issues


Presenter: Dr John Thompson
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK

Due to financial and capacity limitations, a great deal of development-related research involves conducting single studies at one point in time. These ‘snapshots’ can provide useful insights into the people and conditions examined and the impacts of particular processes and interventions. But they often present a rather static picture of these contexts and fail to present a deeper understanding of the critical factors influencing the trajectories of change and transformation. This lecture will introduce three types of studies that can be used to assess dynamic social, environmental and technological change over time at individual, household and community levels: longitudinal, panel and cross-sectional studies. It will draw insights from studies led by the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) and its ‘Agricultural Policy Research in Africa’ (APRA) Programme and discuss the benefits of collaborative, multi-country, mixed-methods research. The analytical strengths and weaknesses of these long-term studies will be reviewed and, if time allows, a short (fun) group ‘quiz’ will end the discussion.

Date: Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Time: 13h00-14h00
Venue: PLAAS Boardroom, 2nd Floor Main Hall, University of the Western Cape

For more information, contact: Joy van Dieman
Tel: 021 959 3754 or Email: