Who participates in frequently and long collected online surveys?

8/31/2016 feature story

Jennifer Barber, Yasamin Kusunoki, Heather Gatny and Paul Schulz look at respondent characteristics linked with continued and on-time participation in a 2.5-year web-based weekly survey collection.

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Publication Information:

Barber, Jennifer S., Yasamin Kusunoki, Heather Gatny, and Paul Schulz. 2016. "Participation in an Intensive Longitudinal Study with Weekly Web Surveys Over 2.5 Years." Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(6): e105. PMCID: PMC4937177.

The ubiquitous nature of communication technologies such as PCs, smartphones, and other mobile devices has increased researchers' ability to collect more frequent longitudinal data. But little is known about the differences between respondents who complete such frequently administered surveys and respondents who do not. Here we analyzed data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study, which collected weekly web-based survey interviews for 2.5 years on factors shaping the dynamics of sexual behavior among 18- and 19-year old women - including their contraceptive use and pregnancies. We examined respondent characteristics and behaviors associated with continued and on-time participation in the study. We found background respondent characteristics measured at baseline were associated with the number of days respondents remained enrolled in the study, the number of interviews they completed, and the odds that they were late completing interviews. In addition, we found that changes in pregnancy-related behaviors reported in the weekly interviews were associated with higher levels of late interview completion, but lower levels of study attrition. Our analyses suggest that respondents who experience the behaviors measured by the study may maintain higher participation levels than respondents who do not.

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