The creation of large scientific studies of human behavior and social experience in the general population constitutes an enormous scientific investment ? the high value of such studies creates a high scientific priority on dissemination tools that significantly expand the scientific use of such data. To date the limitation of dissemination efforts to data on the U.S. population greatly restricts the ability to test the external validity of key findings, raising the possibility that even within the U.S. population findings from any particular study population may not apply to other important populations. Dissemination of similar data resources from populations living under circumstances quite different from the U.S. and Western Europe are urgently needed so that social and behavioral scientists can quickly and easily test the breadth of external validity of key findings.
We will take advantage of NICHD?s long-term investment in the Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS) in Nepal to achieve this high priority objective. Built from more than a dozen different awards from NICHD over 20 years, the CVFS is a very valuable data resource from outside the U.S. in social and health sciences. Harnessing this R03 program for ?archiving and documenting of existing data sets in population science?, we will implement a series of data improvements and new dissemination and data-user support tools to dramatically enhance the availability and usability of the CVFS data. The CVFS is an excellent comparative data resource, featuring a 20-year panel study from Nepal with many important features. First, CVFS was specifically designed to replicate design features from the best longitudinal studies in the U.S. and Europe, such as the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Second, it was designed to measure dynamics of change over time in the community level, not just the individual and household levels. Third, the CVFS measures environmental changes over time, including changes in land use/land cover, habitat quality, and eco-system. Fourth, the CVFS follows all migrants (both individuals and households) no matter where they move and periodically refreshes the sample with in-migrants. Finally, CVFS now has saliva based DNA samples from all family members and blood based anemia screening for all children. As a result the CVFS is an unparalleled resource for study change over time in contraceptive use and non-use, health across the life course, and gene by environment interactions.
We will transform access to this special resource with changes focused on use of the CVFS data, measures specially designed to facilitate comparisons, construction of new data files to speed data linking and data analysis, construction of new learning tools, and new web-based analysis tools. The activities are specifically designed to improve the transparency of comparability between CVFS and data from other settings to assist scientists making these comparisons. We will also improve data quality and user experience so the complexity of these multi-level, 20-year, multi-topic data is not an obstacle to data use.