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case study

The following example illustrates the functionality of the ask app and our framework with a real-life study (PRODO) that was performed at the LMU Munich in 2014. For further information on the study see http://www.kjp.med.uni-muenchen.de/forschung/prodo.php.

Prerequisites

There are only few prerequisites for using ask in your study. You will need a computer with access to the internet and it is assumed that your patients have access to a smartphone with an internet connection (either via WiFi or through a mobil data connection).

Study design with ask

In order to start using ask project leader Dr. Belinda Platt registered herself on our website as described in “how ask works”. She immediately got access to all functions of ask in a trial version for up to 10 participants. In order to complete her full study with up to 100 participants she signed up for one of our affordable annual subscription programmes (https://sum-it.de/research/price-plan/)

Dr. Platt works as a psychologist in the field of child and adolescent despression at the LMU Munich. The tasks she wanted her participants to use in the PRODO study are mostly questionnaire based. The following shows some of the tasks she used:
– DIKJ
– FEEL-KJ
– YSR
– CBCI
– CASE-child/parent
– ESI-mother
Some of those tasks were already in our database of readily available tasks but some had to be added to our system. Due to our flexible architecture and system setup we were able to deliver the missing tasks within a couple of weeks. If you would like to use a task that is not in our database yet, please talk to us on info@sum-it.de. We are happy to help you with any requests.

In your study design you have the possibility to define up to three different groups as part of your study. Each group can have different tasks to complete. This could be especially relevant for controlled studies where the tasks for the control group differ from the experimental group. In case of the PRODO study a single group was sufficient, so all participants completed the same tasks.

As a leader of a study you can also decide to send reminders to your participants for each of your tasks. The reminders will pop up on the screen and ring an alarm. The time and date for the reminders can be set. It is also possible to introduce a random variation of time and date which will be different for each participant. This could be helpful if you would like to exclude biases that arise through the selection of a convenient time of day for completing tasks. Dr. Platt decided to add one reminder at a specific date for the DIKJ task.

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Running the study

Once you are happy with the design of your study you obtain a set of user-IDs from the login area of our web-portal. The user-IDs are codes that allow your participants to log-in to your study and you can identify your participants through this code.

Once you’ve distributed the user-IDs to your participants, they can download the app from the App-Store for free (link App-Store) and start using it. One start-up of ask they will be queried about their userID.
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After successful login they are shown the list of tasks that has been assigned to the group this userID belongs to. They can also see the title of their study and a short description that can be customized. In case of the PRODO study there is only one group, so all the tasks in the study design are visible in the list.
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When participants select one of the available tasks they are shown additional information about that specific task. This could be supporting information, instruction on how to complete the task or introductory examples. Pushing the “Start” button start the task. In our example is is a questionnaire task that can have various input elements as shown below:

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Immediately at completion of the task the results are saved on the server can can be accessed through our web-portal. Even if a participant does not complete a task, the data entered up to that point is stored together with a note that the task was aborted.
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If you would like to make changes to your study design, i.e. ammend the study with an additional task, you can do that at any time. Next time your participants open ask they will see the update and be able to complete the additional task.

Evaluating your study

As soon as a participant has completed one of your tasks, the data is immediately available on our web-portal. You can monitor all data entries online or download it as a .csv file for further processing and analysis.

monitoring results

You can monitor what tasks have been completed by each participant, if they completed the data entry for a specific task, the exact time of data entry and how long it took them. By clicking on one of their results, you can even see their answers in a concise table.

results-view

data download

All data can be downloaded as *.csv file which can be imported with all major statistics software like SPSS, MS Excel, OpenOffice Calc and many more. You have the choice between downloading all available data for your study or just parts of it, filtered by  participant, task or group.

Click here to download a sample result.csv file .