Time Series Analysis

Written by Scott Martin
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Time series analysis is a method used to understand how variables change over time. In many cases, variables are measured at regular intervals. Time series analysis of this data can be either to describe the phenomena that have already occurred or to predict future behavior.

Time Series Analysis Designs

One of the easiest models to prepare is to look at data collected over regular intervals. You can create your own instrument to collect quantitative data or use an outside source. The government provides a wealth of time series data. The Census Bureau collects demographic information while the Labor Bureau collects employment data.

A cohort analysis looks at groups of people that have gone through a similar experience at approximately the same time. Data is then collected from the cohort members at certain intervals. A study that follows an age group over a ten year period would be a cohort.

Another type of time series analysis is a panel study. In a panel model, the same individuals are followed over a period of time whereas in a cohort study, different individuals in the target age group are chosen at each interval. This type of design is a way to measure gross change over time.

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