The Retrospective-Prospective Study Design in Research

Retrospective-prospective studies focus on a phenomenon in the past and study it in the future. The only difference between these studies and before-and-after studies is that they do not have a control group. Most of the before-and-after studies without a control group are retrospective-prospective study designs. In retrospective-prospective study design, the investigator collects some data about the population before the intervention or treatment is applied and then he studies the same population after the treatment of the intervention has done its impact on that population. The investigator does not analyze the population at the baseline neither he has a control group.

Advantages of retrospective-prospective study design

They are less time consuming than the normal before-and-after studies. They do not take baseline data, therefore, they are easier to conduct and provide more opportunities for the investigator. In contrast to the retrospective studies or prospective studies, these studies provide a full range of benefits.

Disadvantages of retrospective-prospective study design

The absence of baseline data and control group makes this design a little controversial. The investigator needs to study a large population in order to avoid the chances of bias. The investigator should also make sure that he has selected the sample in the most appropriate manner. The population should also be selected with caution as the population should best represent the problem that is under study.


  1. The impact of quality control checks in different stages on the performance characteristics of the cotton fabric.
  2. The impact of an early intervention program on the achievement of milestones in epilepsy children.
  3. The impact of maternal health services on the mortality rate of infants.
  4. The impact of youth counseling program in the high school on their academic success.
  5. The effect of watching criminal enactment stories on TV on the behavior of adolescents.

Many of the studies can be conducted using retrospective-prospective study design. This design does not analyze the baseline data, therefore, its easier to conduct it.



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