Statistics: A guide to the unknown

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Retrospective study: A study in which we take a look in the past i.e. a backward looking study is called a retrospective study. For example if something has happened in the past and we wish to analyze the reasons, the logic, the circumstances for its happening, then we call it a retrospective study.


A researcher conducting a retrospective study typically utilizes administrative databases, historical records, or interviews with those who have been associated with the incident. At times, if the person about whom the study is being undertaken, is already dead, then we do the interviews with persons who've been associated with him/her. In general, the reasons to conduct a retrospective study can be summarized as:
Prospective Study: In contrast, a prospective study looks ahead in the time domain. This type of study is slow as compared to the retrospective study. At times the study goes on for years together to arrive at any conclusive decision. This type of study is best suited for establishing relationships between the outcome of interest and exposure variables. The primary feature of prospective study is of course that, the outcome has not yet occurred while initiating the study and information is collected over time to assess relationships with the outcome. In such of study information is gathered mostly using interviews or observations. Two types of prospective studies are;
i. Prospective cohort studies: In this type subjects are identified beforehand and the outcome is measured over time. ...
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