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Computer-assisted Survey Interviewing of School-age Children

Rew, Lynn EdD, RN, FAAN; Horner, Sharon D. PhD, RN, CNS; Riesch, Lou BA, MPH; Cauvin, Roger BS


Longitudinal surveys of children in school settings can yield large volumes of data for use in exploring research questions that may influence development of intervention programs. However, traditional methods of data collection such as paper-and-pencil questionnaires or person-to-person interviewing present major threats to validity throughout the process of data collection, data management, and data analysis. The use of computer-assisted survey interviewing is an alternative that has both advantages and disadvantages. Lessons learned in the first wave of a longitudinal study of approximately 1161 children in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades illustrate both the strengths and limitations of this method.

From the School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Tex. (Rew, Horner, Riesch)

Roger Cauvin Inc, Austin, Tex. (Cauvin)

This article was made possible by a grant to the first author (R01-5HD39554–01A2) cofunded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Nursing Research/National Institutes of Health. The authors thank Dann Coakwell for his technical consultation and expertise in the preparation of this manuscript.

Corresponding author: Lynn Rew, EdD, RN, FAAN, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin, 1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701 (e-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.