The Paths on Life's Way Project: A Mixed-Methods Longitudinal Life Course Study


In this case, I describe the Paths on Life's Way (Paths) project. The Paths project is the only longitudinal study of its kind in British Columbia and one of the few longitudinal studies in Canada. The research, now spanning 22 years-with a 28-year follow-up underway-is designed to provide a detailed examination of the life experiences of a large sample of the Class of 1988 BC high school graduates and a smaller interview sample of 1989 Grade 12 high school students across different points in time and in relation to changing social and cultural conditions. The Paths study entails three dimensions: (1) longitudinal research, (2) life course research, and (3) mixed-methods survey research. After defining each of these dimensions, I describe the life course of the project itself, which began in 1989 through the 22 years of data collection. I highlight some of the key investigations of the Paths project over time and conclude with the types of challenges that I faced over the years in maintaining this data set.

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