Automate Longitudinal Data Collection

Challenges with longitudinal data collection

Longitudinal studies with recurring survey-based measurements are associated with certain administrative challenges. It’s all about planning the surveys and making sure that they are sent at the right time, to the right participants, as well as handling reminders, etc.

Managing this manually requires a lot of planning and that the responsible person schedules the send outs in his or her calendar so that he or she remembers to send out the surveys in time. If the responsible person gets ill or otherwise unable to send the surveys at the right time, someone else must take over the send outs and get access to the survey tool used.

Afterwards, all the results files from the different send outs must be merged so that the development over time of the participating individuals can be followed and analysed. This can demand quite a bit of tweaking and creative procedures, especially if this needs to be done continually throughout the study period, e.g. in order to produce preliminary results.

Schedule recurring surveys in Briteback Explore

Briteback Explore is an advanced research app, with built in survey- and research automation features.

With Briteback Explore it’s very easy to schedule recurring surveys, just as you would schedule a recurring event in your work calendar. After the recurring survey has been set up, it’s just to lean back and let the study take it’s course. No more hassle with managing send times and reminders. Reminders are even automatically sent out only to the participants who have not already responded to the current send out.

If you are curious on the results of the study during the study period, it’s possible to produce partial results files at any time.

When setting up a recurring survey plan in Briteback Explore, it’s just a matter of carrying out the following simple steps:

Automatic management of drop-in participants

Another challenge with longitudinal studies concerns the management of drop-in participants. In studies with drop-in participants not all participants are ready and recruited at the start of the study but will join the study over time. Examples of such studies are within medical research where participation can be based on the onset of a medical condition, or that a certain medical procedure has been carried out. It can also be a re-occurring employee satisfaction investigation where new employees must be managed. Another example is within the area of customer satisfaction where new customers join an ongoing study at the time of purchase of a product or service.

Manually managing longitudinal drop-in studies is almost like running the same number of studies as the number of participants.

The ultimate solution would be to set up the longitudinal study once and for all, and then just having to add new participants to the study as they arrive. Like this:

With Briteback Explore, drop-in studies can be handled as follows: set up a recurring survey plan for the duration of the project period, e.g. a send out every other week during one year. The participant list consists of participants that have joined the study at the starting point. New participants are continually added to the participant list as they arrive. It’s just a matter of editing the participant list for the recurring survey plan. When a new participant has been added, he or she will automatically get the next send out in the survey plan, and so on.

It is of course also possible to remove participants from the recurring survey plan throughout the study period.

The manual work of managing drop-in participants and the timing of send outs and reminders is completely automated.

Advantages with automatic deviation alerts

With longitudinal studies it’s often important to follow up on the status of the study throughout the study period. A very efficient way of doing this is to focus on deviations from expected input. This can, for example, be an athlete indicating an injury in an injury monitoring study, or a customer indicating dissatisfaction in a continual study on customer satisfaction. In such cases it’s important to react quickly and take corrective actions. It’s simply not good enough to wait for a bi-monthly report, since by then it may be too late to rectify the situation.

Setting up automatic deviation alerts in Briteback Explore is a piece of cake with the help of Condition/Action-logic. In a survey plan, a so-called Reaction is setup, consisting of Conditions and Actions. This way an alert can be set up for submitted surveys containing certain answer alternatives. When this happens, a message can be posted to a specified chat channel in Briteback Explore, alerting all channel members. This way all channel members get a smartphone beep and they can directly check out the message posted and start discussing the best follow-up strategy.

This is how you set up answer deviation alerts in Briteback Explore:

Following participants over time

With recurring surveys in Briteback Explore it’s dead simple to generate results for specific participants. All results from a recurring survey are collected in a single results file which can easily be exported to excel or SPSS for further analysis and treatment.

Save time with automation

By automating longitudinal data collection you can save a lot of time. We’d like to know what you intend to do with all the time you save?

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More information

Would you like to learn more about how you can save time by doing your studies in Briteback Explore? Just contact us and we will be happy to help!


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