Web-based data collection: detailed methods of a questionnaire and data gathering tool
There have been dramatic advances in the development of web-based data collection instruments. This paper outlines a systematic web-based approach to facilitate this process through locally developed code and to describe the results of using this process after two years of data collection. We provide a detailed example of a web-based method that we developed for a study in Starr County, Texas, assessing high school students' work and health status. This web-based application includes data instrument design, data entry and management, and data tables needed to store the results that attempt to maximize the advantages of this data collection method. The software also efficiently produces a coding manual, web-based statistical summary and crosstab reports, as well as input templates for use by statistical packages.Overall, web-based data entry using a dynamic approach proved to be a very efficient and effective data collection system. This data collection method expedited data processing and analysis and eliminated the need for cumbersome and expensive transfer and tracking of forms, data entry, and verification. The code has been made available for non-profit use only to the public health research community as a free download..