A cross-sectional study is an observational study, in which the observations (e.g. responses to a questionnaire) are made on a single occasion. Cross-sectional studies generally focus on a single group of people representative of the population of interest. Cross-sectional studies can be a useful way of getting a lot of information quickly but are not considered as powerful as ‘prospective (or longitudinal) studies in which patients or a disease process are/is followed over time.

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