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SAQs allow researchers to reach the largest number of respondents in the most economic way, requiring one survey administrator for a large number of students. However, the SAQ requires a moderate reading level and sufficient cognitive ability to accurately interpret skip patterns typically found in risk behavior research. If these patterns are unsuccessfully navigated, the amount of missing and inconsistent data increases. This, in turn, increases the chances of the student with cognitive or language difficulties being excluded from the study, either as an outright exclusion or as an analytic exclusion i.

In addition, the inability to navigate branching patterns in the SAQ can expose students to developmentally inappropriate questions e. Interviewer-administered surveys, including face-to-face interviews or telephone surveying, seemingly address many of the limitations of self-administered questionnaires; the interviewer reads the survey to the student and navigates the complicated branching patterns, reducing missing data and inconsistent responses.

However, extensive research with adolescents has shown that interviewer-administered techniques are more likely to yield decreased reports of sensitive behaviors when compared with self-administered methods [ 4 — 10 ]. Further, this method can be cost-prohibitive when conducting a large scale surveillance or intervention study. The most desirable solution is a methodology that draws on the strengths of both personal interviewing and self-administered questionnaires, realized in audio-supported, computer-assisted self-interviewing A-CASI.

A-CASI reads the questions to the respondent, thereby reducing literacy demands. A-CASI allows for the programming of difficult branching patterns, and provides a level of privacy at least comparable to that of SAQ [ 10 ]. This method has the benefit of standardization across the study population because the same survey and voice files are used [ 10 ].

A-CASI also provides several data quality improvements over SAQ, including faster data entry and fewer nonresponses and data consistency checks [ 11 ]. Children are quick to pick up the technology and can complete surveys with minimal assistance [ 12 ]. With few exceptions [ 13 ], surveys completed by adolescents using A-CASI elicited increased reporting of sexual behavior when compared with face-to-face interviews, phone interviews, and self-administered paper—pencil surveys [ 12 , 14 , 15 ].

In survey research, methods yielding higher reporting of sensitive risky behaviors are believed to be more accurate as these methods presumably address issues of social desirability [ 16 ]. To facilitate A-CASI data collection in school-based research, researchers either rely on currently existing school resources, such as computer labs, or build their own portable data collection system using laptop computers. Utilization of existing school resources requires less expenditure on the part of the researcher.

However, the researcher is restricted to the availability of the existing resources, thus eliminating some prospective study sites owing to lack of resources [ 13 ] and potentially increasing selection bias. Use of school resources may also be perceived as less private to students who may fear that their responses could be accessible to school administrators and teachers [ 13 ].

Although creating a portable data collection system i. However, researchers still need to be concerned with finding an adequate testing site with sufficient flat-top space and electrical outlets, neither of which are widely available in most urban schools. Equally important are issues of transportation and security of an expensive system that requires substantial research staff. Personal digital assistants Personal digital assistants PDA became widely available in the s. A stylus, an instrument similar to an inkless pen, is used to navigate the touch-sensitive screen of the PDA.

PDAs support multimedia, providing a color screen and volume control. A rechargeable battery can generally run several hours before requiring charging, although a lithium back-up battery is generally included to prevent loss of data. PDAs offer several equipment-specific advantages over both desktop and laptop computers for data collection. First, PDAs cost substantially less than a laptop or desktop computer s.

Second, owing to their size, PDAs are easier to transport than laptop computers, placing less physical burden on research staff. Third, PDAs allow for greater flexibility in the testing venue compared with laptops. Laptops require flat surfaces and ample electric supply, whereas PDAs are charged before data collection and are able to run for six hours before needing to be recharged.

PDAs can be used in a variety of settings with and without tabletop access, including classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, media centers, and auditoriums. Because there is little limitation in the venue, it is easier to create larger spaces between students that may contribute to a greater sense of privacy and increase the validity of reporting by the student [ 13 ].

However, owing to the small size of the PDA, security of the equipment is a larger issue. Further, the stylus is reminiscent of a pen, creating a familiar response mechanism for survey respondents. Recently, there have been a number of published reports on the use of PDAs as electronic diaries in areas ranging from the assessment of pain [ 17 — 19 ] and mood [ 20 — 23 ] to health-related quality of life [ 24 ].

Palermo et al [ 18 ] compared the use of electronic PDA-based pain diaries to paper pain diaries, finding that the PDA-based diary was feasible to use with children and that children were more compliant and accurate in their PDA-based diary entries when compared with paper diaries. Whalen and colleagues [ 20 — 23 ] have used PDA-based diaries to collect behavior, social context, and mood data from adolescents in a longitudinal adolescent health study.

However, to our knowledge, there are no published reports on the use of PDAs in school-based research. One of the barriers to using PDAs in school-based research has been the availability of software needed to develop surveys for the PDA. Details regarding the development of Surveyor are available elsewhere [ 34 ].

One of the more significant contributions of Surveyor is the ability to link audio files e. These files can be recorded from a human or computer-generated voice. In addition, the program locks the student into the survey, deactivating the menu bars and hardware buttons i.

In the case of hardware or software failure, the temporary results file can be reloaded and students restart at the beginning of the section where they had left off. Similar to A-CASI, Surveyor also allows the programming of complex skip patterns, which minimizes unnecessary exposure of students to sensitive questions. By eliminating one of the major barriers to PDA-based survey administration through the creation of a customized, audio-capable, survey design software program similar to those used with A-CASI, we have enabled an initial examination of the feasibility of the APDA system and the impact on data administration and data quality in school-based survey research.

The study in which the APDA was used is a school-wide intervention study aimed at influencing adolescent sexual behavior, with the secondary aim of influencing the normative environment of the school, which in turn may affect behavior. Owing to this secondary aim, it was very important that we involve all students, including those who might have difficulty completing a survey such as those enrolled in ESL English as Second Language classes, special education classes, or even mainstreamed students with cognitive or behavioral challenges.

First, we presumed that although students would be mostly unfamiliar with APDA, they would quickly acclimate to the technology. Finally, we were particularly interested in how APDA might affect data quantity e. Of greatest interest was to examine whether there would be differences in these observations among three exclusive groups: students newer to the United States speaking English as a second language ESL ; special education SE students; and all other students i.

That is, we were interested in determining whether there would be group differences in the response to APDA, the ability to complete the survey, the missingness of data, and the internal consistency of survey item responses. Cell phones and cell phone accessories can be returned to any cell phone carriers, such as Verizon, Sprint or Best Buy. Also check with www. Automotive Batteries, lead acid batteries from cars, boats motorcycles, etc. Contact your local Lowe's, Home Depot, and Staples.

Button Cell Batteries silver oxide, mercuric oxide, lithium still contain mercury. Battery Solutions www. Easton Rd. Sales go to help kids in need within the community. Good Stuff can arrange to pick-up furniture or large items or you can drop off items up to a half hour before closing time.

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