RTC/OM HCBS Measurement Education Modules

Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Measurement

cross-sectional study shows a group of people with a magnifying glass over a section of them. The idea is that looking at a few people from the group is one type of research method. Longitudinal study is depicted in this image by showing the same person over time. It is meant to show that it is a research method that follows changes over time.


Cross-sectional measurement obtains information at a single time (a 'snapshot') across different people.

Example: to determine how people with disabilities rate the quality of their services at a given time. For example, January 21st.


Longitudinal measurement obtains information from the same people at multiple points or times to measure change.

Example: to determine how the quality of services for a group of people with disabilities change over a 5-year period.