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Enhancing Research Capacity via Developmentally Appropriate Online Data Collection

SBIR Phase I

Project Info

Project Description

ID: 1R43TR000982-01A1
TERM: 05/14 – 11/14

A central aspect of any research project is data collection, and within the clinical, behavioral, and social fields of study, data collection is traditionally carried out in-person, by telephone, or through the mail and often involves research participants completing one or more survey questionnaires via paper-and-pencil forms. Recent technology advances have yielded numerous online data collection systems (DCS) that are capable of automating the data collection process via web and mobile applications. As a result, online methods have become increasingly prevalent and evidence indicates online data collection offers significant advantages over traditional methods. Unfortunately, however, none of the current DCS offer developmentally appropriate tools specifically for collecting survey responses with children.

Rather than apply the same online data collection formula for adults to children, the proposed child-centric DCS will be the first online DCS to provide a selection of developmentally appropriate game-like user interfaces (UI) with built in accessibility tools (e.g., text-to-speech questions and response choices with audio controls) to maximize both engagement and usability for children. Completion of this SBIR project will reinforce 3C’s position as a leader in the provision of innovative technology products for researchers and place 3C at a marked competitive advantage. This Phase I project will accomplish three specific aims: 1) create prototypes for the website user interface (UI) for researchers to implement and monitor data collection with children and two game-like UIs for collecting survey data with children (ages 6-12), including built in accessibility tools; 2) conduct testing with children to assess engagement, usability, and feasibility; and 3) conduct testing with researchers to assess value, innovation, feasibility, usability, and quality. We expect this project to demonstrate strong support for the proposed child-centric DCS. Findings will be used to generate the Phase II full development plan, including all needed revisions and additions. This project will yield an affordable, easy-to-use product that can be broadly applied in the service of research. By facilitating the collection of high quality data in research with children, we hope the proposed product will support translation of research findings into clinical practice, so health outcomes for children can be enhanced.