Cross-sectional studies are suitable for determining the prevalence. In addition, they can be carried out very quickly and can investigate several endpoints. Cross-sectional studies are carried out by means of interviews or questionnaires.


Cross-sectional studies are conducted to determine prevalence and to derive causal relationships. The prevalence represents the number of cases in a population at a given time. Subjects are evaluated at a given time to ensure causality.


In order to conduct a cross-sectional study, research questions must be formulated. Subsequently, a sample population is selected to elaborate the research questions and the relevant variables for the analysis are defined. For data collection, a method for contacting the subjects of the sample is then implemented (questionnaire or interview). The collected data is then analyzed. Figure 1 illustrates the study design of cross-sectional studies.


Cross-Sectional Analysis
Figure 1: Study Design of Cross-sectional Studies, Source:

Core Literature

  • [1] Mann, C.J. (2003). Observational research methods. Research design II: cohort, cross sectional, and case-control studies Emergency Medicine Journal 2003;20:54-60.
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