Editor's note

Individual socks, plasticware lids and workplace teaspoons – where do they all go?

In 2005, frustrated researchers designed a study to measure the loss of teaspoons from their institute tearooms – and published their findings in a top medical journal. The article is notable not just for its sense of fun and its results (yes, teaspoons do indeed go missing) but also, as presented by researcher Peta King, it’s a fantastic example of a longitudinal study design.

This story opened our new series This is research, where we ask academics to share and discuss open access articles that reveal important aspects of science.

Sarah Keenihan

Section Editor: Science + Technology

Top story

Teaspoons seem to have legs. from www.shutterstock.com

The curious case of the missing workplace teaspoons

Peta King, South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute

Once upon a time, a group of disheartened scientists found their tearoom bereft of teaspoons. They explored the problem with a longitudinal study design.

A group of people with something in common is called a ‘cohort’ in research. from www.shutterstock.com

How tracking people moving together through time creates powerful data

Tiffany Gill, University of Adelaide

Cohorts, or groups of people, are followed over time in longitudinal studies – imagine the study subjects marching forward together through the years, like a group of soldiers.


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