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Does Internet Data Collection Improve Cohort Retention?

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01740674
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : December 4, 2012
Last Update Posted : December 8, 2014
M.S.I. Foundation
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Gerry Giesbrecht, University of Calgary

Brief Summary:

One of the biggest challenges of conducting research where the investigators follow people over a long period of time is keeping the participants involved. One of way that investigators may be able to improve participant involvement in research is to give participants the opportunity to complete their questionnaires online.

Here's how the investigators think the Internet data collection system will help to keep participants involved and ultimately help to answer important questions about the effects of nutrition during pregnancy:

  1. It will allow investigators to present complicated questionnaires in a way that doesn't confuse participants. For example, instead of telling participants to skip the remainder of a question if they answered no to the first part of the question, the ePRO system does the skipping for them. The result is less confusion, fewer questions to read, and less of the participant's time.
  2. It provides a convenient way for participants to keep track of where to find the questionnaire, and how much they have already completed. Participants sometimes don't have time to answer all of the investigator's questions in one sitting. The ePRO system keeps track of how much participants have already done and it's ready to keep going whenever the participant has time. It also avoids the common problem of losing the questionnaires to the household paperwork pile, or worse to the recycling bin.
  3. It provides timely reminders to participants. Study participants, and especially new moms, are busy and they forget to complete the questionnaires. The ePRO system can provide timely reminders encouraging participants to respond.
  4. It helps participants complete the questionnaires accurately. The ePRO system has an automatic error detection ability that will alert participants to any questions they missed or completed incorrectly.

Finding ways to keep participants involved in research is something that all researchers are concerned about, and ultimately it's a concern for all Canadians because the results of research are often used to make decisions about health care and the kinds of programs that governments provide. Losing any participant from the study reduces the ability of policy makers to take the best decisions and choices about what health services to fund with limited dollars. What the investigators propose is a study to determine whether Internet data entry really will keep participants involved in a longitudinal study. Previous studies have shown that the internet can be a useful tool for getting people to sign up for research and at least one small study showed that using Internet data entry can actually save money. But no researchers have actually tested whether it really does a better job than paper based questionnaires in terms of keeping participants involved.

In order to answer this question, the investigators will randomly assign the current Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition study participants to either continue receiving the paper-based questionnaire or to start receiving the web-based surveys. The investigators will follow participants over three assessment occasions (over a period of 18 months) and observe any differences between the groups in their involvement. Because the investigators are randomly assigning participants to the two groups, differences in involvement will tell them about usefulness of Internet data entry as a participant retention tool.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Internet Data Collection Other: Electronic data collection Not Applicable

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 301 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Official Title: Is Internet Data Collection Superior to Traditional Methods in Retaining Participants in Longitudinal Research?
Study Start Date : December 2012
Actual Primary Completion Date : November 2014
Actual Study Completion Date : November 2014

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Electronic data collection
The group of participants who will complete questionnaires via the internet
Other: Electronic data collection
No Intervention: Paper data collection
The group of participants who will continue to complete paper based questionnaires, as has been the practice for this longitudinal study.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Participant retention 6 months postpartum [ Time Frame: postpartum 6 months ]
    participant retention is defined as the number of participants providing data at 6 months postpartum.

  2. Participant retention 12 months postpartum [ Time Frame: 12 months postpartum ]
    participant retention is defined as the number of participants providing data at 12 months postpartum.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Completeness of collected data 6 months postpartum [ Time Frame: postpartum 6 months ]
    completeness of collected data is defined as the percent of completed items of all items included in the questionnaire package at 6 months postpartum.

  2. Completeness of collected data 12 months postpartum [ Time Frame: postpartum 12 months ]
    completeness of collected data is defined as the percent of completed items of all items included in the questionnaire package at 12 months postpartum.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   16 Years and older   (Child, Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • current participant in the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition Study
  • woman must have an infant less than 1 year of age

Exclusion Criteria:

  • women who have formally withdrawn from the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition Study

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01740674

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Canada, Alberta
Alberta Children's Hospital
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T3B 6A8
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Calgary
M.S.I. Foundation
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Principal Investigator: Gerry Giesbrecht, PhD University of Calgary

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Responsible Party: Gerry Giesbrecht, Assistant Professor, University of Calgary Identifier: NCT01740674    
Other Study ID Numbers: MSI-865
First Posted: December 4, 2012    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 8, 2014
Last Verified: December 2014
Keywords provided by Gerry Giesbrecht, University of Calgary:
internet data collection
longitudinal research
cohort retention