Conducting field research in a primary school setting : methodological considerations for maximizing response rates, data quality and quantity

Trapp, Georgina, Giles-Corti, Billie, Martin, Karen, Timperio, Anna and Villanueva, Karen 2012, Conducting field research in a primary school setting : methodological considerations for maximizing response rates, data quality and quantity, Health education journal, vol. 71, no. 5, pp. 590-596.

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Title Conducting field research in a primary school setting : methodological considerations for maximizing response rates, data quality and quantity
Author(s) Trapp, Georgina
Giles-Corti, Billie
Martin, Karen
Timperio, Anna
Villanueva, Karen
Journal name Health education journal
Volume number 71
Issue number 5
Start page 590
End page 596
Total pages 7
Publisher Sage Publications
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2012-09
ISSN 0017-8969
1748-8176
Keyword(s) children
data collection
research methods
schools
Summary Background: Schools are an ideal setting in which to involve children in research. Yet for investigators wishing to work in these settings, there are few method papers providing insights into working efficiently in this setting.

Objective: The aim of this paper is to describe the five strategies used to increase response rates, data quality and quantity in the TRansport Environment and Kids (TREK) project.

Setting: The TREK project examined the association between neighbourhood urban design and active transport in Grade 5–7 school children (n = 1480) attending 25 primary schools in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia during 2007.

Method: Children completed several survey components during school time (i.e. questionnaire, mapping activity, travel diary and anthropometric measurements) and at home (i.e. pedometer study, parent questionnaire).

Results: Overall, 69.4% of schools and 56.6% of children agreed to participate in the study and, of these, 89.9% returned a completed travel diary, 97.8% returned their pedometer and 88.8% of parents returned their questionnaire. These return rates are superior to similar studies. Five strategies appeared important: (1) building positive relationships with key school personnel; (2) child-centred approaches to survey development; (3) comprehensive classroom management techniques to standardize and optimize group sessions; (4) extensive follow-up procedures for collecting survey items; and (5) a specially designed data management/monitoring system.

Conclusion: Sharing methodological approaches for obtaining high-quality data will ensure research opportunities within schools are maximized. These methodological issues have implications for planning, budgeting and implementing future research.
Language eng
Field of Research 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30050447

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