Using a Virtual Platform for Conducting Grandfamily Research

Min Kyoung Song, Hannah C. Bessette, Laura L. Hayman, Karen S. Lyons, Kerri M. Winters-Stone, Mary C. Roberts Davis, Carol M. Musil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our research team quickly pivoted from planned face-to-face interaction with participants to virtual interactions. During this transition, we discovered invaluable new practices for conducting research remotely, including collecting physiological data. Objective Our objective was to describe the methodological challenges we encountered when conducting this research virtually with grandparent-grandchild dyads and describe the strategies we developed to overcome those challenges. Of primary focus were procedures for finger-stick blood sample collection. Of secondary focus were procedures for conducting virtual-based research with older adults and across multiple generations. Methods During an observational study utilizing a virtual platform with 11 grandparent-grandchild dyads (mean age: 64.2 ± 5.0 years for grandparents and 9.3 ± 1.9 years for grandchildren), we documented lessons learned (based on the discussion within our team and feedback we have received from participants) that could be applicable for other, similar research endeavors. Results We found several challenges in collecting blood samples, including staff were unfamiliar with providing online instruction and participants needed to develop familiarity with the blood sample collection process (without having in-person assistance), and we had to develop methods for delivering blood sample collection kits to participants safely. We also found that it took longer than expected to run procedures - a challenge that might be encountered when conducting any type of dyadic research utilizing a virtual platform - particularly involving older adults and across multiple generations. In addition, it was challenging to keep child participants engaged in the virtual interactions. We document how we employed targeted strategies to overcome those obstacles. Recommendations for strategies from our team include to provide comprehensive and clear instruction/materials on blood sampling procedure, offer generous support throughout the blood collection process, be prepared to divide study visits into more than one session as needed, proactively anticipate potential roadblocks, and carefully consider the participants' developmental stages and attention span. Discussion The insights we gained will help inform future research with grandparent-grandchild dyads in remote or rural populations utilizing virtual platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalNursing research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 29 2022


  • blood specimen collection
  • grandparents
  • intergenerational relations
  • research design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Using a Virtual Platform for Conducting Grandfamily Research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this