The California Teachers Study and the consumer-wide web were born the very same year. Since 1995, technology has transformed how people communicate. Text-messages have replaced postcards; information is on-demand with the click of a button; online platforms allow studies to collect and store information in mass; and pictures of puppies can be easily embedded on your screen.
As technology has transformed the way we interact with each other, it has also empowered the CTS to better collect study participant input and, in turn, tailor our communication based on this feedback. As we enter our 25th year, we're leveraging technology to do two things better:
1) Hear directly from you about what matters, and
2) Make changes based on your feedback.
We recently surveyed a group of study participants about their experiences as members of the California Teachers Study. Here's what we learned.
What research topics are most important to you?
Participants were asked to select up to 5 areas they'd like to see the California Teachers Study consider in the future. Memory, aging, diet, cancer clusters, and healthy lifestyle were the most popular areas for future research. Use the visualization below to see how the most popular health topics varied by age group.
What information would you like to receive from the California Teachers Study?
Study findings! When asked what type of information they would like the CTS to share, participants expressed the most interest in scientific findings, followed by updates on research activities and more information about the CTS study population.
How often do you want to hear from us?
Often—but not too often. 53% of participants said they wanted to receive annual updates from the study; another 28% said they would prefer updates every few months; 15% didn't have a frequency preference, and only 4% of you want to hear from us every month.
How would you like to receive future questionnaires?
Online, please. Most participants (57%) said they’d prefer to complete future study questionnaires online; 30% would still prefer to receive a paper questionnaire. The remaining 13% didn’t indicate a preference of how they received future questionnaires.
Give us a grade. How are we doing?
We asked study participants to rate the overall performance of the California Teachers Study.
Most participants (74%) rated the CTS’ ability to make them feel like an important part of the study as “Very Good” or “Good”. Some participants felt like there was room for improvement in how we give study updates, share findings, and keep you informed about how your questionnaire answers are used.
So now that we know this, what’s next?
In response to your feedback, we've done three things:
Created the CTS Quarterly Digest. This emailed newsletter contains updates about new projects and study findings. If you haven't been receiving the Quarterly Digest, visit our Contact Us page to give us your email address!
Launched a CTS blog series on what we’re studying. Have you seen our “What Are we Studying?” blog series? Each of these posts highlights a new CTS analysis project using participant data, and explicitly outlines which questionnaire answers are being used.
Developed a survey on healthy aging, coming soon. You said that memory and aging are the two most important research topics, and we heard you. Later this spring you’ll receive an online survey aimed at capturing updated health information to drive new research on aging.
We are grateful for your input and participation, and will continue to learn from you about how we can do better, together!