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Ambulatory Assessment May Be an Answer to Engaging ‘Hard to Reach’ Youth in Research

Some ethnic and demographic groups are difficult to recruit for research studies. Mobile devices and other new technologies can eliminate some barriers, especially when used mindfully.

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Researchers who study adolescents are increasingly relying on data collection strategies based on teens’ smartphones. How well do adolescents understand their rights as research participants?

Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is a term used to describe the collection of data in real time while subjects remain in their natural environments. Many adolescence researchers are familiar with contemporary beginnings in social science research, such as when Reed Larson and Claudia Lampman-Petraitis signaled adolescents to record their emotional state using electronic pagers. However, with the growing ubiquity of smart phone use and ownership among adolescents, EMA has become more common and more feasible.

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