The Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study: Methodological developments and current tensions

Research and Evaluation Branch, Public Health Strategy Division, Department of Public Health and Health Professions, Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff, UK.
International Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.7). 08/2009; 54 Suppl 2(S2):140-50. DOI: 10.1007/s00038-009-5405-9
Source: PubMed


To describe the methodological development of the HBSC survey since its inception and explore methodological tensions that need to be addressed in the ongoing work on this and other large-scale cross-national surveys.
Using archival data and conversations with members of the network, we collaboratively analysed our joint understandings of the survey's methodology.
We identified four tensions that are likely to be present in upcoming survey cycles: (1) maintaining quality standards against a background of rapid growth, (2) continuous improvement with limited financial resources, (3) accommodating analysis of trends with the need to improve and adapt questionnaire content, and (4) meeting the differing requirements of scientific and policy audiences.
While these challenges are not trivial, the structure of the HBSC network and its long-term experience in working through such challenges renders it likely that HBSC can provide a model of other similar studies facing these tensions.

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