Interactive visualization to facilitate monitoring longitudinal survey data and paradata

By Joseph J Murphy, Michael Andrew Duprey, Robert Franklin Chew, Paul P Biemer, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Carolyn Tucker Halpern

Surveys often require monitoring during data collection to ensure progress in meeting goals or to evaluate the interim results of an embedded experiment. Under complex designs, the amount of data available to monitor may be overwhelming and the production of reports and charts can be costly and time consuming. This is especially true in the case of longitudinal surveys, where data may originate from multiple waves. Other such complex scenarios include adaptive and responsive designs, which were developed to act on the results of such monitoring to implement prespecified options or alternatives in protocols. This paper discusses the development of an interactive web-based data visualization tool, the Adaptive Total Design (ATD) Dashboard, which we designed to provide a wide array of survey staff with the information needed to monitor data collection daily. The dashboard was built using the R programming language and Shiny framework and provides users with a wide range of functionality to quickly assess trends. We present the structure of the data used to populate the dashboard, its design, and the process for hosting it on the web. Furthermore, we provide guidance on graphic design, data taxonomy, and software decisions that can help guide others in the process of developing their own data collection monitoring systems. To illustrate the benefits of the dashboard, we present examples from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). We also discuss features of the dashboard to be developed for future waves of Add Health.


Murphy, J. J., Duprey, M. A., Chew, R. F., Biemer, P. P., Harris, K. M., & Halpern, C. T. (2019). Interactive visualization to facilitate monitoring longitudinal survey data and paradata. (RTI Press Publication OP-0061-1905). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Joseph J MurphyJoe J. Murphy, MA, is senior survey methodologist in RTI International’s Survey Research Division.

Michael Andrew DupreyMichael A. Duprey, BA, is an education analyst in RTI’s Education and Workforce Development division.

Robert Franklin ChewRobert F. Chew, MS, is a research data scientist and program manager in RTI’s Center for Data Science.

Paul P BiemerPaul P. Biemer, PhD, is Distinguished Fellow, Statistics, at RTI International and is Associate Director for Survey Research and Development for the Odum Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH).

Kathleen Mullan HarrisKathleen Mullan Harris, PhD, is the James E. Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology, an adjunct professor of public policy, and the director and principal investigator for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health at the Carolina Population Center at UNC-CH.

Carolyn Tucker HalpernCarolyn Tucker Halpern, PhD, is chair of the Department of Maternal and Child Health and a faculty fellow in both the Center for Developmental Science and the Carolina Population Center at UNC-CH.

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