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Research Collaboratories: Their Potential for Health Behavior Researchers

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Objective: To discuss how online collaboratories can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of research conducted in multiple sites. Methods: We describe how online collaboratories offer a flexible infrastructure for health behavior researchers, and describe the strengths and weaknesses of such tools and the lessons learned from several systems. Results: Although virtual collaboration requires a technology infrastructure achieved at some cost, including access, connectedness, bandwidth, and technology literacy, the potential benefits to health behavior researchers are extensive. Conclusions: The range of technical skills and level of comfort with technology are variable in most groups. However, technology tools are just one aspect of the fully realized collaboratory. Ultimately it is the human skills for collaboration rather than the technical excellence of the infrastructure that signals the potential for success.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Applied Human Technologies Division, ORC Macro International, Inc., Calverton, MD. 2: Department of Public and Community Health, Co-Director, Public Health Informatics Research Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

Publication date: 2002-11-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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