First Steps for Conducting Online Research with Adolescents: Basic Considerations for Implementation Success


Online delivery of mental health resources and interventions has many benefits, including scalability. This may be particularly relevant when in-person services are limited and researchers need to transition their work to online platforms. This report aims to describe the challenges experienced in a pilot study of an online program (Teen Wellness [TW]) for adolescents and outline first step considerations for conducting online research with adolescents. A total of 16 participants (Mage = 13.125; 43.8% female) in an after-school program engaged with TW. The usefulness was rated 7.62 out of 10 and 68.8% of participants completed all modules. Significant changes in the adolescents’ satisfaction with “self” (p = 0.035) and “friendships” (p = 0.035) were observed. The pilot study informs researchers doing their first steps in online research with adolescents. Basic considerations are related to determining the desired level of human support and setting, the consent-assent process, designing or utilizing an existing online resource, utilizing agile design, and including adolescent feedback.

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Mevident Inc., The YMCA Silicon Valley, Lee Pfab, Daniel Saavedra, and Tina Bernal

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Correspondence to Eduardo L. Bunge.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent was obtained in accordance with the Palo Alto University Institutional Review Board (#FWA00010885). This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Stephens, T.N., Tilden, C. & Bunge, E.L. First Steps for Conducting Online Research with Adolescents: Basic Considerations for Implementation Success. J. technol. behav. sci. (2021).

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  • Adolescents
  • Internet
  • Wellness
  • Online research
  • Implementation science