Data Collection Phases


This study consists of the three data collection phases illustrated in the figure below.

Qualitative Interviews – Fall 2012:

Face-to-face interviews (50 minutes each) were conducted with 30 elementary, 30 middle school, and 30 high school students, during school time to hear how young people think about different character strengths and how they engage with, and contribute to, their school and neighborhood.

Cognitive Interviews – Spring 2013:

Face-to-face interviews (50 minutes each) were conducted with 4 elementary, 4 middle school, and 4 high school students during school time to gather feedback on the clarity of our survey instrument.

Wave 1 Youth and Parent Survey – Spring 2014:

A paper-and-pencil survey was given to 3,000 students in elementary, middle, and high school (about 100 students per grade). The purpose of this survey was to understand, empirically, how civic and character development unfolds in childhood and adolescence. Surveys also were mailed home to the parenting adults of participating students. The goal of these surveys was to understand specific ways parents foster civic and character development in their child.

Wave 2 Youth and Parent Survey – Spring 2015:

To measure development change, students who participated in Wave 1 (along with a small sample of new students) will be invited to participate in a second round of data collection. The content of the Wave 2 survey will be very similar to Wave 1. Longitudinal data allows us the unique opportunity to examine change and predictive associations.

Sharing the Findings

We are committed to sharing study findings in a variety of different ways so that researchers, community members, families, youth development professionals and educators can benefit. Some of the ways study findings will be shared include:

  • Scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Conference presentations geared toward the scientific community
  • Applied reports aimed at adults who run community programs and work with youth
  • Reports tailored to the schools who participate
  • Newsletters to families who participate
  • A webinar for parents and others about our findings
  • This website, which contains up-to-date information about our project