Panel studies are a survey design with a long tradition in the social sciences in which the observation units are interviewed several times over time.
Advantages of panel studies are, for example, the special analysis potential, which allows to analyse changes and developments, or the quick and inexpensive access to the interviewees. Disadvantages, on the other hand, include the selective failure of respondents over time (panelattrition), which leads to a reduction in the representativeness of the sample in subsequent waves, or the influence of past surveys on the responses in future waves, so-called panel conditioning.
This article provides an overview of the methodological advantages and disadvantages of panel studies and of the fundamental considerations when deciding for or against a panel design.
Pforr, K., & Schröder, J. (2016). Why Panel Surveys? GESIS Survey Guidelines. Mannheim, Germany: GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. doi: 10.15465/gesis-sg_en_008