MSU Department of Family Medicine

Scope: Text/Mobile Marketing & Surveys


Description: For this project I am working with Dr. Carlos Rios-Bedoya ScD, MPH, a research scientist studying health behaviors in youth populations. In this study, participants are recruited in a clinical setting and text a keyword to our short code to opt in to the study. Questions are delivered and answered by text message, and all responses are collected in the text mobile database. Participants are then sent prevention text messages over the course of the 12-week study, and surveyed every two weeks. A pre-determined amount of money is loaded onto pre-paid debit cards assigned to participants to thank them for their participation and to provide an incentive to continue.

I administer the study and prepare the data for Dr. Rios-Bedoya, as he cannot see the data with any type of identifiers, in this case, telephone numbers.

This type of survey is extremely effective for a  few reasons:

  • While the majority of adolescents have a cell phone, a lesser percentage have a smart phone. Using text message surveys allows anyone with a cell phone to participate as an internet connection is not necessary.
  • 95% of text messages are read within 2 minutes, making it an extremely effective communication tool.
  • The vast majority of adolescents have their cell phones with them and turned on at all times.