TRAD’s App Supports Adolescent Health and Technology Research

Fri December 20, 2019

Dr. Megan Moreno, the principal investigator of the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT), was recently featured in an ABC news story about social media’s impact on youth health. Working within the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Moreno and her interdisciplinary research team explore how technology use interacts with health outcomes relevant to adolescents, focusing on technology use and misuse, online safety, and social media’s influence. 

To assist with data collection to support their research, SMAHRT collaborated with Teaching & Research Application Development (TRAD) in developing an application for collecting data about adolescent screen time use and mood. Working with Dr. Moreno and Anna Jolliff – a member of SMAHRT whose work has centered on technology and mental wellness among adolescents – TRAD developed a research application that collects data via text messages and surveys. Through a series of text messages sent to study participants throughout the day, teens provide information about technology use, including whether they were using their phone when they received the text, what apps they were using, and a self-assessment of their current mood.

“Our team has significant experience developing applications which help our university partners collect and visualize research data,” said Justin Janisch, the lead TRAD developer. “This application was unique in that we were parsing emojis along with other data from text messages,” Justin explained. “It was enlightening to see the tremendous variety of emojis adolescents use to convey the mood they are currently experiencing.”

With their technical expertise, collaboration-focused working style and dedication to the UW-Madison mission, TRAD is well-situated to meet the evolving research and data collection needs of campus. If you’re interested in discussing potential projects, contact DoIT Academic Technology via email at