The role of parents

One key difference between unmoderated remote research and in-person research is the environment, and who is (and is not) present during the study. Specifically, a researcher is not present, but the child’s parent is. This difference in the testing environment presents both unique challenges and unique opportunities.


One main challenge in remote research is making sure that children’s responses are not influenced by interference from other people. We address this issue in two ways:

  • Designing studies that are age-appropriate and that children can complete with minimal assistance from parents. For more information, see our guide on study design and programming.
  • Coding video data for interference. We code for interference using the video coding platform Datavyu, a free open-source video coding system (Lingeman, Freeman, & Adolph, 2014;


One major benefit is the ability to observe the behavior of children and their parents in a more naturalistic home setting without the intrusion of having a researcher physically present. For example, this method is uniquely suited to studies of parent-child conversations and interactions. Since families can participate in studies easily, by just clicking on a link, this forum is also ideal for gathering longitudinal data.

See here for an example of a multi-session study examining parent-child conversations about gender that we are currently running in this way.