Detailed Guidelines for the 13-14 Year Age Group Survey

ISAAC research staff and field workers should not use the terms "asthma", "allergy", "rhinitis" or "eczema" when testing at the school (except when repeating specific questions [see below]). The phrases "breathing survey" or "a survey about breathing, skin and nose problems" are acceptable terms to use.

  1. Once a randomly selected list of schools is available send a letter to the Principal and Board of Trustees asking permission for the survey to take place in their school. Enclose sample copies of the Survey Questionnaire, Information Letter to Parent/Guardian, and appropriate translations (e.g. Chinese/Maori/Tongan/Samoan/Cook Island Maori).

  2. Follow-up approximately a week later with a telephone call ascertaining the Principal's name and requesting permission to speak to him/her, obtaining the Secretary's name also if possible. Document all calls for each school including the name(s) of contacts and reason(s) for calling.

    Arrange a time and date to visit to discuss the survey logistics, identify the coordinating staff member and to leave the necessary translations and information letter to be handed out one week prior to the survey. Arrange a date for the survey and request class lists of students names, date of birth and ethnic origin to be available for that date (or posted to the researcher prior to the survey).

  3. An explanation regarding refusals should be given. Refusals will be accepted by:

    1. A phone call to the Department/Research Centre by parent/guardian;

    2. Sending the information back to the school with a written response and student's name; or

    3. Verbal refusal from the student (as long as this is plausible).

  4. It is anticipated that some children will be absent on the first visit day. At the outset a second visit date should be scheduled with the school staff.

  5. Conducting the survey:
    Option One (Wellington)
    Numbering and naming the questionnaire prior to the survey date -this can only be done if the class lists are obtained prior to the survey. The surveys are then distributed to the students by name and class - any not given out are kept to be used on the second visit. This information is printed onto a label which is affixed to the questionnaire prior to the survey.
    Option Two (Auckland)
    Handing out the surveys to everyone on the day. The student filling out his/her name and class identification number. The Researcher later marks them off against the class list and creates a chart for those who did not fill in a survey form. This chart is then presented to each teacher on the second visit or posted prior to the second visit and the reason noted down. The absent students are then included in the followup.

    An example:


    Reasons for non-participation

    Student's name

    Class No.


    Not in age group


    Joe B




    Sam T




    Andy G




    Mark S




    Philip R




    Michael T




  6. The video questionnaire must always be shown after the written questionnaires and should be tested prior to the students being present to ensuer that sound and quality are of adequate quality to be heard and seen by all the students.

  7. Check that the written questionnaire intended for 13-14 year olds (in New Zealand) is identified by title and '2' in the coding boxes.

  8. Ensure that each child has a pen or pencil to write with (the survey is often done outside the home classroom).

  9. A short explanation is beneficial before handing out the questionnaires. Students are more attentive if the researcher shows them the questionnaire and explains simultaneously. Instructions not to answere the video questionnaire until directed, not to discuss the questiona (or answers) and to raise their hand if they have any queries are necessary. Instructions on how to answer an incorrect answer should also be given.

  10. Survey forms are then given out either by name for Option One or general issue to the class for Option Two.

  11. Principles to follow regarding the fielding of questions from participants are attached (see standardised approach to fielding questions following).

  12. Checking the front page before students leave is advantageous and allows the student to make corrections him/herself. However, this is not always possible. A check may be done later and the questionnaire reissued to the student on the second visit if practicable.

  13. If questionnaires have not been completed in a comprehensible fashion, they could be returned to the original student for one further attempt (this will be logistically difficult).

  14. Once the questionnaire is completed the core module responses must not be changed by research workers under any circumstances. The demographic information on the front page may be corrected if errors are detected and the correct answer can be confirmed from school information. Any changes must be noted on a correction sheet (see Corrections Form).

  15. Students must not be allowed to change their responses to the written questionnaire after viewing the video.

  16. Confirm with the coordinating teacher the date of the return visit for the absentees and, if yet to be made, organise a date, preferably within two weeks of the first visit.

  17. If on the second visit the researcher surveys a class or classes that had been absent at camp or away entirely they should be classified as first surveys and only students who were absent from their class on the first visit will be second surveys.

  18. A letter of thanks from the researcher to the Principal and the coordinating teacher is appropriate at this stage. Let them know that they will be notified of the results when they become available.

The ISAAC Phase One Field Guide was prepared by Philippa Ellwood. Please contact Mrs Ellwood if you have any questions regarding the guide.