Methodological Note: On Using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for Survey Administration in the Study of Youth Development


  • Mona M. Abo-Zena Tufts University
  • Amy Eva Alberts Warren Tufts University
  • Sonia S. Issac Tufts University
  • Dan Du Tufts University
  • Erin Phelps Tufts University
  • Richard M. Lerner Tufts University
  • Robert W. Roeser Portland State University



Applied developmental scientists face the challenge of identifying research methods that enable the efficient collection of data from youth of diverse social backgrounds (e.g., ethnic. racial, religious, economic) and varying levels cognitive-linguistic and attentional skills. In addition, because access to youth during school time is often limited by educators’ desire to preserve instructional time, finding methodologies to collect data from youth that are highly efficient, and also those that are feasible in less structured settings, are needed. This article outlines some of the benefits and limitations of using a voice-enhanced survey delivered on a personal digital assistants (PDA) as a method of gathering data from diverse youth in both, in and out-of-school contexts.






Research & Evaluation Studies