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Arthur receives student paper, travel awards

Ann Arthur
Ann Arthur

Ann Arthur, CYFS graduate assistant, has earned student paper and travel awards from the International Conference on Questionnaire Design, Development, Evaluation and Testing.

During the Nov. 9-13 conference in Miami, Florida, Arthur will present her paper, “Advances in Questionnaire Design for Youth.” She developed the paper while working on a project with CYFS’ Nebraska Academy for Analytics, Psychometrics and Analytics (MAP Academy).

“I think this research could be valuable to anyone doing survey research with kids,” said Arthur, doctoral student in the quantitative, qualitative and psychometrics program. “People are interviewing kids more and more often, but there is very little research on best practices.”

In her paper, Arthur reviewed the literature on instrument design for youth and developed recommendations for designing youth questionnaires. The recommendations target each phase of the survey response process: comprehension, retrieval, judgment and reporting.

Arthur and other research team members then tested several of those recommendations using a sample of 150 youth from six different states—part of a larger MAP Academy youth survey project.

It was an eye-opening experience, Arthur said. Some of the team’s initial recommendations were supported. Others were true for younger youth but not older.

For example, the team found that some youth had trouble comprehending the word “physical activity.” That experience led to a recommendation that language on the survey should be two grade levels lower than the target grade—for seventh graders, language should be at a fifth grade reading level.

“I find it fascinating how asking a question in different ways evokes different responses­—there are a lot of forces at play,” Arthur said. “How that looks and manifests in kids is different than adults.”