The cross-sectional study is the most frequently used descriptive design in marketing research. Cross-sectional designs involve the collection of information from any given sample of population elements only once. They may be either single cross-sectional (Figure 3.1). In single cross-sectional designs. only one sample of respondents is drawn from the target population. and information is obtained from this sample only once. These designs are also called sample survey research designs.
Internet Health Care Services
Harris Interactive. with revenues of $238.7 million for the year ended June 30. 2008. is a worldwide market research and consulting firm that uses the Internet to conduct market research. Harris Interactive conducted a study to determine the needs for online health care services and the best way to meet them. The research design consisted of an exploratory phase followed by a descriptive cross-sectional online survey of 1.000U.S. health care consumers over the age of 18.
According to the survey, a visit to the doctor’s office is not enough for most consumers. The average time a doctor spends with a patient has decreased to 15 minutes. which reduces the overall interpersonal health care communication. The survey revealed that consumers demand a range of options for accessing their doctors and nurses, which includes face-to-face. online. and’telephone communication
• 86 percent of respondents wanted to schedule appointments by phone with a person.
• 89 percent would like online or phone access to a nurse triage to help manage a chronic medical condition with availability ?fter office hours.
• 40 percent expressed frustration at having to see their physicians in person to get answers to simple health care questions.
• 16 percent wanted electronic medical reminders .
• 13 percent wanted lab test procedures and results to be available online.
• A ‘9 percent wanted online charts for monitoring chronic conditions
In response to such findings. Kaiser Permanent redesigned its Web site in 2001 to enable members to access drug and medical encyclopedias. request appointments. ask confidential questions or get advice from nurses and pharmacists. and share health concerns with other members and physicians in discussion groups. The Kaiser site also provides access to information on health plan options. local health education classes. physician directories. and directions to facilities. Members of the Kaiser site also have information on specific doctors and facilities at their fingertips. Alternative health care communication methods like Kaiser’s will support the physician-patient relationship and make a physician’s practice and the entire HMO more competitive when consumers make their decisions about doctors and health care providers
It is unlikely that any of the individuals studied at time one will also be in the sample at time two. For example. the age cohort of people between 8 and 19 years old was selected and their soft drink consumption was examined every 10 years for 30 years. In other words. every 10 years a Sampler of respondents was drawn from the population of those who were then between 8 and
years old. This sample was drawn independently of any previous sample drawn in this study from the population of 8 to 19 years old. Obviously, people who were selected once were unlikely to be included again in the same age cohort (8 to 19 years old), as these people would be much older at the time of subsequent sampling. This study showed that this cohort had increased consumption of soft drinks over time. Similar findings were obtained for other age cohorts (20 to 29, 30 to 39,40 to 49, and 50+). Further, the consumption of each cohort did not decrease as the cohort aged. These results are presented in Table 3.3, in which the consumption of the various age cohorts over time can be determined by reading down the diagonal. These findings contradicted the common belief that the consumption of soft drinks will decline with the graying of America.
This common but erroneous belief was based on single cross-sectional studies. Note that if any column of Table 3.3 is viewed in isolation as a single cross-sectional study (reading down the column), the consumption of soft drinks declines with age, fostering the erroneous belief.?
In a fixed sample (or samples) of population elements is measured repeatedly on the same variables. A differs from a cross-sectional design in that the sample or samples remain the same over time. In other words, the same people are studied over time and the same variables are measured. In contrast to the typical cress-sectional detiall, which gives a snap” shot of the variables of interest at a single point in time, a 1000 IinK Mai study provides a series of piczures that give an in-depth view of the situation and the changes that tak-eplace over time. For example, the question, “How. did the American people rate the performance of George W. Bush immediately after the war in Afghanistan?” would be addressed using a cross-sectional design. However, a longitudinal design would be used to address the question, “How did the American people change their view of Bush’s performance during the war in Afghanistan?”
Sometimes, the term panel or true panel is used interchangeably with the term longitudinal design. A panel consists of a sample of respondents, generally households that have agreed to provide information at specified intervals over an extended period. Syndicated firms maintain panels, and panel members are compensated for their participation ,with gifts, coupons, information, or cash. Panels are discussed further in A pane) design can be used to understand and monitor changes in women’s attitudes toward golf, as illustrated in the following example