• Presentation

Web-Based Home Study Assessments on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health


Peri, R. V., Ganapathi, N., Meyer, M. D., Loftis, C. E., & Hewitt, D. K. (2007, May). Web-Based Home Study Assessments on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Presented at International Field Directors and Technologies Conference, Santa Monica, CA.


The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is a nationwide survey conducted annually by RTI International for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It collects screening data from approximately 160,000 households and interview data from 67,500 individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The NSDUH is the Federal Government’s primary source of national data on the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances in the general U.S. civilian non institutionalized population, age 12 and older. Prior to sampling households for data collection, NSDUH conducts Counting and Listing of dwelling units throughout the country. The Count and List staff (listers) are given field work assignments only after they pass a home study assessment. In the past years, NSDUH utilized paper home study assessments. Grading, documenting results, and providing results feedback was time consuming and costly. For the 2007 NSDUH Count and List task, RTI developed a web based electronic Home Study (eHomestudy) testing application. The presentation will focus on the key features, challenges and cost efficiency benefits of eHomestudy and discuss its future direction. Notable key features are the detailed and enlarged map graphics, flexibility of the user to complete it during multiple sessions while accessing the internet from either a personal home computer or a computer at a public place or business, and development of an instruction memo that included ‘how to get started’ graphics and terminology for those who are first time users, but wasn’t too elementary to irritate experienced users. Challenges include making the application compatible with different kinds of browsers like IE, Fire Fox and Netscape, and different operating systems like clones of Windows and Macintosh, and using different internet connection speeds. The eHomestudy cut costs for this assessment operation as well as provided more timely and detailed results to project staff. Usability feedback was also gathered during the eHomestudy to assess information about where the lister accessed the internet, the internet speed, type of computer used, user reactions to the difficulty of accessing or completing the eHomestudy, as well as feedback on the user’s overall enjoyment of the experience. These results and completion rates will be reported.