Cross Sectional design is one of the most well-known and commonly used study designs. In this kind of study, the subset of the population or the whole population is chosen and from the selected participants, data is gathered for the purpose of helping answer research questions of interest. The reason why it is known as the cross-sectional study design is due to the information regarding X and Y which is collected shows what happens at a single point of time.
For example, if there is a simple cross sectional design in which an epidemiologist would be trying to find out if there is a link between the grades of students and television watching as she infers that the students who spend most of their time watching too much television do not get sufficient time to do their homework and perform poorly at school too.
Therefore, the epidemiologist would compile some questions regarding the total hours which were spent while watching television and the grades achieved in the courses. This sheet was then sent out with the questions to all the kids in a school. The above mentioned case is basically an example of cross sectional study where the document that was sent to the school was a basic questionnaire.
When it comes to public health research, a number of terms appear interchangeably such as cross-sectional study, questionnaire , survey, survey tool , survey questionnaire, cross-sectional survey and survey instrument. Despite the fact that these terms are being used interchangeably, there are not same as each other.
Questionnaires can be referred to as means of data collection for the purpose of asking questions from the participants of research. Data can also be gathered using other tools like pedometers which are used for measuring the distance walked as well as scales that measure weight. Nevertheless, majority of the cross-sectional studies gather at least some of the data through questionnaires.
Therefore, cross sectional design consists of sampled groups which are selected and observed from a continuum to find out if there is any distinction between the various parts of the continuum. In this case the continuum is mostly the age however sometimes one might wish to examine other things which can be smaller or bigger.
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