Methods: We will describe key trajectory design methods that cross levels of analysis capturing interactions between genetic, physiologic, behavioral, and environmental factors
Results: These methods, including person-oriented, case-based, longitudinal mixed-method designs capture stability, change, and development. They are useful for complex, inhomogeneous, and multifaceted datasets that are often generated in studies of humans in chronic illness situations. Data inhomogeneity in this field is created because the phenomena of interest often requires various temporal and spatial scales, which cross a range of responses, and include both textual and numerical data that may be either continuous or discrete. In contrast to variable-oriented approaches, these analysis methods search for patterns, trends, or typologies in trajectories of response. Visualization is a key component of these novel methods in which patterns are identified across trajectories of data around a case (individual, dyad, system).
Conclusion: Trajectory design methods allow for the exploration of data, create portraits of response, and enhance insights to generate hypotheses.