Frequently Asked Questions
We welcome your questions about the project.
Send questions to the Project Manager and
she or a project director will get back to you as soon as possible.
Q: How are you protecting my identity on this web
A: We have taken several steps to protect your confidentiality:
- We do not store your
name or contact information on this web site or web server.
- When you use the Contact Information forms, the information is sent
to the Project Manager in an email; it is not stored anywhere on our web
server. This means that only the Project Manager can access this email
- We do not use any names or images of any study members on our web
- Study findings are reported in summary form, never in such a way that an
individual or family could be identified.
Q: I need to reschedule my interview. How do I do
A: Please click here to contact the Project
Manager, or call toll-free at 1-800-455-4250
Q: How can you interview a 2 year old child? What does
the child do since s/he can't answer questions?
A: Parents of two year olds complete questionnaires, but the children
themselves participate in play tasks. These tasks are a way for us to study and
understand families, especially with very young children, and the interactions
complement the information provided by questionnaires. When we're working with
children, parents have told us that they are intrigued to see how their child
reacts to the visit. Sometimes they are surprised, but however a child reacts to
any of the play tasks is just fine. We want children to behave as they normally
Q: Why do we have the videotaped part of
A: We appreciate everyone's participation in the video taped segment over the years because this is a
very important aspect of the project. Sometimes there is an initial reluctance
to be on camera, but that feeling usually goes away because participants talk
about issues of real importance to them. The fact that we have videotaped
hundreds of couples and families several times each over the years indicates how
accepting people have been of this part of the interview. Completing
only the questionnaires, of course, is valuable in its own right; however,
doing both the questionnaires and the video tasks maximizes the benefits of the
study in terms of both scientific knowledge and information that will help
families in the future.
We've prepared a short video panel discussion involving members of the
research staff, filmed in April of 2007. This 12 minute DVD is available for
study participants who are interested in learning more about this component. Please contact the Project Manager
if you would like a free copy of this segment.
Q: Who has access to the videotapes?
A: Confidentiality is among our top priorities, and we are very careful about
security. Field Interviewers do not watch the discussion tasks.
When these video data arrives at our office,
it is separated from paperwork that contains names and addresses. From that
point on, it is only identified by an ID number. Only
authorized personnel have access to the data, and it is only viewed in
secure rooms to which access is limited. If a staff member has personal
knowledge of a study participant, the staff member becomes ineligible to work
with that particular data. Although this hasn't happened often in the long
history of the project, we take this aspect of confidentiality very seriously
and work hard to ensure the privacy of our participants.
Q: What kind of training do interviewers receive?
A: Our Interviewers are highly trained professionals. They attend
two or more days of training in Ames, reviewing and learning interview protocols
for each component of the study on which they work. Before they are allowed to
contact family members, Interviewers must demonstrate that they understand
interviewer techniques in theory and in practice and fully realize the
tremendous responsibility they have as members of the research team who have
direct contact with study participants. Our Interviewer staff is comprised of
telephone Interviewers who work out of the CATI (Computer Assisted
Telephone Interview) lab in Ames, as well as members of our Field Staff, which
includes the Interviewers and Camerapersons who visit you in person. The Family Transitions Project is dedicated to providing the best
possible experience in terms of your working relationship with employees
representing the project.
Q: Will you ever interview the Siblings of Targets
A: We've heard this question a number of times over the years, and we are
glad there are Sibling participants who would like to be involved again.
One of our researchers, Kathi Conger, is particularly interested in sibling
relationships and we are hopeful that funding agencies will support her research
in this area of family life.
Q: How is the study paid for?
A: This study could not be possible without federal
funding. All current funding is from agencies with the National
Institute of Health, but over the life of the project we have been funded by the
following agencies: the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, the Iowa Agriculture
& Home Economics Experiment Station, the MacArthur Foundation Research Network
on Successful Adolescent Development among Youth in High-Risk Settings, the National
Institute for Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug
Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Aging.