The Household Registration System: A Database Program Generator for Longitudinal Studies of Households

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Social Science Computer Review


Efforts to understand social, behavioral, and health characteristics of populations often require longitudinal studies of households Experimental designs, combined with longitudinal monitoring, permit many causal inferences that are not possible with cross-sectional surveys. While such studies retain their conceptual appeal, practical problems often limit their application. Data can be complex to manage, and results can be delayed. This paper presents a description of a microcomputer software system that addresses data management problems associated with longitudinal surveys of households. Using relational logic from household surveillance systems developed for Bangladesh and Indonesia as a model, an automated program generator is proposed that greatly simplifies the task of systems development for a family of applications. The paper reviews features of the database software that make up the output of this system and presents examples that illustrate the flexibility of the software generator.