Cohort Survey Design in Health Research

Cohort Survey Design

Cohort research or often called prospective research is a survey study (non-experimental) that is best for assessing the relationship between risk factors and effects (disease). As previously described, cohort research is a study used to study the dynamics of the correlation between risk factors and effects through a longitudinal or prospective approach. That is, the risk factor to be studied is identified first, then followed in the future prospectively the onset of the effect, that is, the disease or one of the indicators of health status.

Conclusion the results of this study will compare the proportion of subjects who become ill (positive effect) between the group of subjects studied with positive risk factors with a group of subjects with negative risk factors (control group).

Cohort research implementation steps include the following: 

  1. Identification of risk factors and effects.
  2. Establish the subject of research (establish the population and sample).
  3. Selection of subjects with positive risk factors from subjects with negative effects.
  4. Select the subjects who will be members of the control group.
  5. Observe the development of the subject until the specified time limit, then identify the arising or not the effect on both groups.
  6. F was analyzed by comparing the proportion of subjects who received a positive effect with subjects who received a negative effect in both the positive risk group and the negative risk group (control).

Simple example: a study that wants to prove the relationship between lung cancer (Ca) (effects) and smoking (risks) using a prospective approach or design

The first stage: identifying the factors of effect (dependent variable) and risk (independent variable) as well as controlling variables (control variable).

Dependent variable: pulmonary Ca

Independent variables: people who smoke (respondents) controlling variables: age, occupation, and so on of the respondents.

The second stage: establish the subject of the study, that is, the population and sample of the study. For example, the population is all men in certain areas or places, with an age between 40 to 50 years, both smoking and non-smoking.

The third stage: identify smoking subjects (positive risk) from the population, and also identify non-smoking subjects (negative risk) an amount approximately equal to the smoking group.

The fourth stage: observe the development of the effect in the group of people who smoke (risk positive) and the group of people who do not smoke (control) up to a certain time, for example, over the next 10 years, to determine the development or occurrence of pulmonary Ca.

Fifth stage: processing and analyzing data. The analysis was conducted by comparing the proportion of people who suffer from pulmonary CA with the proportion of people who do not suffer from pulmonary Ca, among smokers and non-smokers.

Some Advantages Of Cohort Research

  1. Can set the comparability between two groups (subject group and control group) from the beginning of the study.
  2. Can directly determine the number of risk figures from one time to another.
  3. There is uniformity of observation, both risk factors and effects over time.

Limitations Of Cohort Research

  1. Takes quite a long time.
  2. Requires complex means and management.
  3. The possibility of research subjects who drop out will interfere with the analysis of the results.
  4. Since the risk factors present in the subject will be observed until the occurrence of an effect (possibly a disease) this means that it is less or unethical.


Notoatmodjo, S. (2010). Notoatmodjo s Health Research Methodology, editor. Jakarta: PT. Rineka Cipta.
Creswell, J.W., & Miller, D. (2000). Determining validity in qualita¬tive inquiry. Theory into Practice, 39(3), 124-130.
Bowling, A. (2014). Research methods in health: investigating health and health services. McGraw-hill Education (UK).
Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach. Sage publications.
Creswell, J.W. & Piano Clark, V.L. (2007). Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Green, J., & Thorogood, N. (2018). Qualitative methods for health research. sage.

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