Smartphone study of teen relationships: anatomy of a pilot

Rachel E. Goldberg, Princeton University
Marta Tienda, Princeton University
Janet Vertesi, Princeton University
Alicia Adsera, Princeton University

This paper documents the lessons from a pilot study that uses weekly smartphone “diaries” to collect prospective information on the romantic relationships and sexual behavior of adolescents. The pilot consists of several components: development of a smartphone app for survey administration; fielding of two rounds of weekly surveys; and focus groups with first round participants. Interim results confirm that teens respond to weekly smartphone surveys, including those involving sensitive questions. There was no attrition from the first 8-week study. Lessons related to app development, design of smartphone surveys for teens, and phone distribution are offered. Given the novelty of smartphone-based survey research in social sciences, the lessons learned from this pilot study provide insights about the promises and challenges for researchers considering use of these new technologies in survey research with youth.

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Presented in Session 20: Data and methods

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