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Lessons Learned From an Online Study with Dual-smoker Couples

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Objective: In this paper we present lessons learned from an online study assessing couples' health behaviors. Methods: We conducted an online cross-sectional study to assess health behaviors of dual-smoker couples. Participants were recruited via passive and targeted methods. Data were collected from 77 (pre-safeguard) and 197 (post-safeguard) participants. Safeguards included: (1) changing the incentive from prepaid card to raffle; (2) allowing only one IP address per response; (3) masking eligibility; (4) adding multiple questions to ensure consistency in responses; and (5) emphasizing data surveillance. We computed descriptive statistics using SAS 9.4 to compare enrollment rates and validity of data between the pre- and post-safeguard participants. Results: Although 77 entries were collected within 24 hours (presafeguards), 5 responses were ineligible and excluded. Among the remaining 72 entries, 68.1% were fraudulent as either multiple data entries (24.5%) and/or conflict in responses to similar survey items (83.7%). Once safeguards were administered (post-safeguards), data collection took longer to obtain 297 participants, which included 27 ineligibles. Among the 270 eligible participants, 35.9% were fraudulent due to conflicting responses to similar survey items. Conclusion: Online data collection via surveys should use safeguards to capture valid data. Many safeguards exist, which researchers should consider when designing online survey projects.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA 2: Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA 3: School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: 01 January 2017

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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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