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NOVA QDS™ Newsletter
January 2004

This Newsletter Includes:
Major Research Studies Use QDS!
POSIT HIV/STD Instrument. NOVA Research is utilizing QDS™ in its national, multi-site R01 research grant funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to test the effectiveness of a prototype questionnaire designed to screen for HIV/STD risk-of-exposure among teens. Paul Young is Principal Investigator and Dr. Elizabeth Rahdert is Project Director and Co-PI. The questionnaire is an add-on to the Problem Oriented Screening Instrument for Teenagers (POSIT) now mandated by public law in several states. POSIT screens for potential problems in ten functional areas (i.e., drug use/abuse; mental health; physical health; family relations; peer relations; social skills; educational status; vocational status; leisure/recreation; aggressive behavior/delinquency), thus providing clinicians and researchers a valuable tool for use in identifying problems potentially in need of preventive, therapeutic or supportive services.

South Africa HIV/STD Research. QDS™ will be used by NOVA in its international supplement, a NIDA-funded collaborative research project with the University of Cape Town and the Medical Research Council in South Africa, to continue developing and testing of the HIV/STD risk-of-exposure screen among South African adolescents. This research project will test the reliability and validity (particularly cultural context) of the POSIT and its HIV/STD risk-of-exposure screen supplement in the Afrikaans language using the HAPI™ module on the Pocket PC for administration.

Handheld Version of SCID-I. NOVA Research Company is working closely with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to develop portable versions of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Personality Disorders (SCID-I), Clinical (CV) and Research (RV) versions for the handheld computer. A beta version of the soon-to-be-released QDS™ Handheld Assisted Personal Interview (HAPI™) is the backbone software being used to develop and test this instrument for the Pocket PC.

CDC PRAMS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and over 30 state health departments are utilizing QDS™ for the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). QDS™ is used to gather State-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences prior to, during, and immediately following pregnancy.

CDC MSM HIV/AIDS Surveillance. The CDC is using a beta version of the Pocket PC QDS HAPI™ (soon to be released commercially) to monitor HIV/AIDS risk behavior among men having sex with men (MSM) and other populations in a multi-site study in 20 major metropolitan areas nationwide.

HIV Prevention Evaluation. A leading Northern California university, in tandem with the CDC, is leading a cross-site evaluation throughout the U.S. in HIV prevention. QDS™ ACASI is being used to administer questionnaires in English and Spanish. The attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of patients/clients are being recorded to help develop HIV prevention services and programs. Other studies being conducted using QDS™ include: Gay Men Relationship Study, Women's Health Study to Encourage HIV/STD Prevention Methods, and an HIV Prevention Survey.

UCLA Risk Behavior Assessments. The UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute Center for Community Health uses QDS™ as its standard for all behavior assessments. Most projects involve the study of HIV/AIDS and STD risks among a variety of populations, including runaway youth, HIV-positive adults, HIV-positive youth and young adults, and children of parents with HIV. The Center uses the QDS™ ACASI module for all interviews and finds it effective for sensitive sections such as drug use and sexual behavior. For interviewer-administered, face-to-face sections, the text-to-speech component is turned off to allow the interviewer to speak to the subject.

Available Soon: Handheld Assisted Personal Interview (HAPI™) Module
NOVA Research Company is pleased to announce that a Handheld Assisted Personal Interview (HAPI™) module has been developed for QDS™ and beta-tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It will allow QDS™ users to be more mobile and conduct personal interviews using a Pocket PC. HAPI™ supports the same features as CAPI and is fully integrated into QDS™ so equivalent interviews can be administered on paper, the desktop, and the handheld device.
In Development: QDS™ Upgrade
NOVA will be releasing an upgrade to make several new features available including encryption, an enhanced edit feature that provides the ability to launch a second control file, password protection, customized reporting, and the latest version of DECtalk.
Survey Programming Services
Are you in a time crunch or do you need help getting started with your survey? NOVA is pleased to offer Survey Programming Services. Many QDS™ users-including the University of California, San Francisco, the University of Miami, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more-have taken advantage of NOVA's expert services. NOVA's survey developers are ready to help you get your research instrument off the ground and into the field quickly and efficiently. Development quotes are provided on a case-by-case basis and are dependent on the length and complexity of your questionnaire (includes testing, review/revisions, delivery of Codebook, and final specifications file). Upon completion, you will have everything you need to maintain control of future modifications to your survey. To receive a quote, reply to this e-mail with "QUOTE" in the subject line, or simply call (301) 986-1891, ext. 103 to speak with Steve Kohn.
QDS™ Training Sessions
Did you know that NOVA offers training sessions? Trainings can be customized to meet your needs and match the skill level of your group. NOVA's trainers will introduce the system, demonstrate how to use features through instruction and examples, and teach new or different methods to design and implement questionnaires. These sessions are offered at NOVA's offices in Bethesda, Maryland, or on-site at your facility. If interested, please send an e-mail to for pricing and sample agendas.
Training Feedback
"Best training I've attended."
-Participant, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., New York, N.Y.
"I felt that the presentation overall was excellent. It was very concise and I came away with a pretty good understanding of QDS™ and its applicability to the work that we do. Thanks!!"
-Participant, Institute for Community Research, Hartford, Conn.
International Studies
QDS™ is proud to have international users from many countries, including Canada, England, Spain, South Africa, Puerto Rico, and Thailand. QDS™ is also used by many overseas-based CDC studies in countries such as South Africa. In addition, NOVA recently participated in a Department of Commerce Trade Mission to Ireland and England. NOVA staff met with representatives from universities and private research institutions/businesses to promote QDS™ and its capabilities.
Technical Support Corner: Debugging Skips
When a Skip Instruction is not working and the cause is not apparent, try inserting an Information Element immediately prior to the Skip Instruction. Use the Information Element to display variables used in Skip. Often seeing the values that are being passed to the Skip is sufficient to indicate the source of the problem.

If the new Information Element is not displayed, it may indicate that a previous Skip or Branching Instruction bypasses the Information Element (and possibly, the problem Skip Element). [NOTE: You should also check that the appropriate audience is checked on the Info Element tab so that the Information Element will be displayed-e.g., items that provide Information to the Interviewer are not displayed for ACASI interviews.]

Using Skip Instructions, rather than Response Set Tab Branching instructions, also makes debugging easier by providing a visual indication that the flow of the questionnaire may be altered at this point in the questionnaire.

Trade Show Exhibits: Where to See QDS™ in Action
We were happy to meet face to face with and give product demonstrations to many current and potential QDS™ users in November at the American Public Health Association conference in San Francisco, California. Mr. Murray McKay, Project Analyst on the "ABC Project" at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority in Canada, was the lucky winner of a free QDS™ Design Studio at our drawing. We plan to exhibit at the National Center for Health Statistics conference this summer-stay tuned for details.

The QDS™ Newsletter is published electronically by:
NOVA Research Company
4600 East-West Hwy., Suite 700
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 986-1891, Sales x103
(301) 986-4931 fax
Managing Editor: Sheila Pederson
Contributors: Carmita Signes, Steve Kohn, Susan Scheck

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