IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Factors influencing enrolment: A case study from Birth to Twenty, the 1990 birth cohort in Soweto-Johannesburg


  • Richter, Linda M.
  • Panday, Saadhna
  • Norris, Shane A.


Longitudinal studies offer significant advantages in rendering data commensurate with the complexity of human development. However, incomplete enrolment and attrition over time can introduce bias. Furthermore, there is a scarcity of evaluative information on cohorts in developing countries. This paper documents various strategies adopted to minimize loss to follow up and describes a retrospective analysis of a small group of families who were missed during initial enrolment and through several subsequent rounds of data collection of the Birth to Twenty (BT20) birth cohort in Soweto-Johannesburg, South Africa that began in 1990. A purposive case study approach was used, and 10 of the 119 families missed at enrolment were interviewed to investigate why these families were not enrolled into the study. The findings demonstrate that high mobility, both within urban areas and between urban and rural areas, are a major challenge for longitudinal studies in densely populated urban areas. In addition, enrolment was also affected by individuals changing their names, largely motivated to facilitate access to employment under Apartheid, as well as varying motivations for participating in research. Longitudinal studies in the developing country context must be mindful of the political, social and economic climate that influences enrolment and ongoing cohort maintenance.

Suggested Citation

  • Richter, Linda M. & Panday, Saadhna & Norris, Shane A., 2009. "Factors influencing enrolment: A case study from Birth to Twenty, the 1990 birth cohort in Soweto-Johannesburg," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 197-203, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:32:y:2009:i:3:p:197-203

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:32:y:2009:i:3:p:197-203. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.