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Collection of real-time data from participants – interactive text surveys

Author(s): GEORGE . KITSARAS Michaela Julia Michael Iain

SCT Annual Meeting 2018

Introduction. Questionnaire-based assessments are associated with challenges such as recall bias and low response and retention rates. Real-time, mobile-based approaches in behavioural, psychological and social research can present a new way forward. An area where those real-time mobile-based approaches can be valuable are bedtime routines, an area associated with child wellbeing and development. Bedtime routines have been difficult to evaluate with traditional assessments such as questionnaires mainly due to their retrospective approach. Approximately 95% of the population in the United Kingdom and the United States owns a mobile phone, sending an average of 100 text messages per subscription per month. Moreover, some hard to reach populations, such as low-income and minority groups, not only show similar rates of using mobile phones but they also report higher percentage of text-messaging than other groups. Methods. Preliminary Patient and public involvement (PPI) work with families showed a clear preference for a text-survey assessment of bedtime routines via an interactive text survey. In collaboration with a company specializing in text-surveys, an interactive, user-friendly, real time text-survey assessment of bedtime routines was developed and administered to 50 families with preschool age children (ages 3-6). The assessment was delivered to participating parents’ mobile phones for 5 consecutive nights, after the child had been to bed and it involved open-ended and closed questions about that night’s bedtime routine. There was a maximum of 10 and a minimum of 8 questions depending on response patterns. The average completion time was 2-minutes. All data points were managed and analysed electronically via a secure online platform. Anonymised feedback, response and retention rates and other insight information were collected. Results. The text survey was perceived positively with an average score of 4.5 out of 5 for overall experience. There was an overall response rate of 87%, much higher than conventional questionnaire-based assessments. Finally, retention rates were good with every participant replying to the text-survey at least 3 out of 5 nights resulting in an average of 40 unique data points per participant throughout the duration of the study. There were no dropouts during the study. Conclusion. Text-survey assessment delivered to participant’s mobile phones was successful for assessing different types of bedtime routines. The assessment was perceived positively causing minimum disruption while obtaining extensive real-time data. Traditional questionnaire-based approaches are limited in the depth and quality of data they can gather while interactive text-surveys offer great potential for real time assessment of general and health-related behaviours. Finally, mobile text messaging-based approaches can have intervention potential in terms of tailored, personalised, on-demand and real-time support for bedtime routines and health behaviours alike.

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