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East Bay Study on early years development

United States

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About the Study

This study is designed for parents in the East Bay who receive CalFresh/SNAP benefits, have at least one child that is 18-48 months old, and live in any of the following regions: Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont. We are looking for families who speak and read English and/or Spanish with the child/ren.

Please read about our study below. If you have questions or want more information, feel free to email us at with “East Bay Study” in the subject line.

The purpose of this study is to better understand child development and well-being as well as how people’s financial situation affects them and their children in the East Bay. The study lasts one month, during which we have you complete surveys and audio recordings of your child’s sound environment.

Study Activities

People who join the study are asked to complete short surveys and make two audio-recordings with their child/ren at home over the course of one month.

The first survey at the beginning of the month is the longest and will take 20-30 minutes to complete. After that, there are short daily surveys for 16 days. These should take only 2-3 minutes to complete. There is one final survey at the end of the month that is about 10 minutes long. They will ask you questions about your finances, your mental health and wellbeing, and your relationships to your child/ren and your partner if applicable.

We ask you to make two audio recordings that are at least six hours each. We will loan you two LENA recorders, small devices commonly used in child development studies that can safely store your data. We will also loan you a t-shirt that you will place the recorder into and your child will wear throughout the day. Our goal is to capture as natural a day in the life of your child as possible, so please begin the recording as soon as they wake up. We also ask that you only record in your household.

If you are eligible for the study, we will bring you all of the necessary materials (Visa card for study compensation, LENA recorders, consent forms, etc.) and email or text you the links to the surveys depending on your preference. We will send you each survey around noon and ask that you complete them by midnight.

We will coordinate with you to schedule each recording time. We will send you reminders on each day you are scheduled to record. You are, of course, free to choose to stop your participation at any point. Just let us know.

Other information about the study is included below. If you have any additional questions, feel free to email them to us at, or let us know a good time to call you if you would prefer to talk over the phone.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

How much will I be paid?

You will be paid a total of $170 for completing all recordings and surveys.

Specifically, you will be paid:

  • $10 for the first survey$2 per day for the first 8 daily surveys ($16 total)
  • $3 per day for the last 8 daily surveys ($24 total) + $20 bonus if you complete all 8
  • $20 for the final survey
  • $30 per recording ($60 total) + $20 bonus if you complete both

You will also be entered into a drawing to win $75 or $400.

How will I be paid?

You will be paid weekly through a Visa cash card. We will drop off the Visa card at the beginning of the study and will load payments onto your card every Friday over the duration of the month.

The results of the cash drawing will be announced on the 18th of the month. People who receive $400 will be paid by the 22nd of the month. This money will be on a separate Visa cash card from the one they have already received. People who receive $75 will be paid at the end of the month on the same cash card on which they receive survey and recording compensation.

What will happen with my recording?

We are interested in better understanding child development and well-being as well as how people’s financial situation affects them and their children in the East Bay. Your recordings and survey responses will be stored on a secure server and will be kept confidential.

What if there are parts of my recording I don’t want to be stored?

When you make your recordings, we will ask you whether there are any parts of the recording you wish to retract. If so, we will delete these parts of the recordings and not analyze them further.

How do you deal with privacy?

We take your confidentiality and privacy seriously. This research is also covered by an NIH Certificate of Confidentiality. Both as individuals who would not like their own data leaked and as researchers who are bound by our review board to follow strict privacy and confidentiality measures. The essentials are that we remove identifiable information (e.g. name, email, phone number, etc.) from data immediately. Your research data is never directly tied to your identifiable information (name, email, phone number, etc.). We keep all our data on secure servers approved by UC Berkeley IT security and password protected / encrypted computers and hard drives. The UC IT team works diligently to ensure that our systems are as secure as humanly possible. There is always a risk but we and the University work as hard as we can to minimize that risk. If there were any breaches of your data we are also obligated to notify you immediately.


Principal Investigators
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