Parents taking part in OPTIMA are invited to complete a joint drawing task with their child; ‘Etch-A-Sketch Online’ (ESO). This research task is based on one that used the traditional Etch-A-Sketch toy and has been developed for use in online research by Dr Bonamy R. Oliver and her team at UCL1. ESO enables researchers to measure child-parent interactions in families’ own homes without the need for travel or in-person contact.
What happens in the task?
The researcher calls the parent on their mobile at a pre-agreed time and texts or emails a link to the task. During the task, parent and child are asked to use the touchscreen ESO drawing canvas to copy a picture and the OPTIMA researcher makes an audio-recording of their conversation (we do not record video or pictures that the families draw). The task itself takes five minutes and so the whole call takes no longer than 15 minutes.
Participants are invited to complete the ESO task three times during the study: when they first agree to take part, after three months and finally after 12 months. Each time that they complete the task, we send the child a £5 voucher and a certificate to show our thanks. It is essential that children agree to take part in the ESO task and so we ask parents to share a specially written information sheet with them before the task, which can be viewed here.
Why is the task important?
Parents taking part in OPTIMA are already providing us with valuable information on their child’s behaviour and their experience of parenting by completing online questionnaires throughout the study. The ESO task helps us to directly record children’s behaviour in a short, 5-minute speech sample. We are hoping that it will provide important complementary information to that being reported by parents via the questionnaires and, in turn, provide evidence for the effectiveness of the STEPS parenting app.
1 More information about ESO can be found in Oliver, B. R. & Pike, A. (2021). Introducing a novel online observation of parenting behavior: reliability and validation. Parenting, 21(2), 168-183 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15295192.2019.1694838?journalCode=hpar20