Open-ended responses from early adolescents: Method matters

Abigail M.A. Love, Amanda R. Butz, Ellen L. Usher, Brittany L. Waiters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates whether the length and pattern of early adolescents’ (N = 261) responses to open-ended self-reflective questions varied according to data collection method: paper and pencil versus online survey. Adolescent students’ (Npaper = 157; Ncomputer = 104) responses from a suburban, United States sample of fifth grade students were significantly longer on computerized surveys than on paper surveys. Students provided higher quality responses (i.e., lexically richer) on the computerized survey. Findings were consistent when responses were relevant to two subject areas: mathematics and reading. Results suggest that the use of computerized survey methods in psychological research with early adolescent samples is both appropriate and valuable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-34
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents


  • Adolescents
  • Handwriting
  • Keyboarding
  • Lexical richness
  • Survey methods
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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