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Publication Detail
Investigating change across time in prevalence or association: the challenges of cross-study comparative research and possible solutions
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Bann D, Wright L, Goisis A, Hardy R, Johnson W, Maddock J, McElroy E, Moulton V, Patalay P, Scholes S, Silverwood RJ, Ploubidis GB, O'Neill D
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Discover Social Science and Health
  • Volume:
  • Article number:
  • Medium:
  • Status:
  • Country:
  • Print ISSN:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Comparative research, Cross-study analysis, Measurement, Missing data, Time trends
  • Notes:
    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Cross-study research initiatives to understand change across time are an increasingly prominent component of social and health sciences, yet they present considerable practical, analytical and conceptual challenges. First, we discuss the key challenges to comparative research as a basis for detecting societal change, as well as possible solutions. We focus on studies which investigate changes across time in outcome occurrence or the magnitude and/or direction of associations. We discuss the use and importance of such research, study inclusion, sources of bias and mitigation, and interpretation. Second, we propose a structured framework (a checklist) that is intended to provide guidance for future authors and reviewers. Third, we outline a new open-access teaching resource that offers detailed instruction and reusable analytical syntax to guide newcomers on techniques for conducting comparative analysis and data visualisation (in both R and Stata formats). Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s44155-022-00021-1.
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