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The use of the Internet in collecting CDI data – an example from Norway*



This article presents the methodology used in a population-based study of early communicative development in Norwegian children using an adaptation of the MacArthur-Bates communicative development inventories (CDI), comprising approximately 6500 children aged between 0 ; 8 and 3 ; 0. To our knowledge, this is the first CDI study collecting data via the Internet. After a short description of the procedures used in adapting the CDI to Norwegian and the selection of participants, we discuss the advantages and potential pitfalls of using web-based forms as a method of data collection. We found that use of web-based forms was far less time-consuming, and therefore also far less expensive than the traditional paper-based forms. The risk of coding errors was virtually eliminated with this method. We conclude that in a society with high access to the Internet, this is a method well worth pursuing.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Kristian E. Kristoffersen, University of Oslo – Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, P.O. Box 1102 Blindern, Oslo N-0317, Norway. e-mail:


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We thank the CDI Advisory Board for permission to adapt the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Inventories to Norwegian. We also thank Master of linguistics Kristin Wium for drafting the first version of the Norwegian CDI, as well as PhD (linguistics) Janne von Koss Torkildsen, Lars Smith and Stephen von Tetzchner, professors of psychology at the University of Oslo, for evaluating the first draft. Furthermore, we would like to thank the parents of the participating children for having completed the CDI-reports. Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewers of the Journal of Child Language for their useful comments and suggestions. The data collection was funded by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo.



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