Phase 2: Conduct the CASPER in the Field

outreach worker speaking to a resident

Communications and Press Release

Prior to conducting the CASPER in the field, inform the community of the upcoming survey through press releases, official health department webpages, and social media such as Facebook©, Twitter©, and Nextdoor©. Increased awareness of the CASPER can lead to increased participation.

Examples of press releases

Face-to-Face Interviews

CASPER is conducted through face-to-face interviews in the field. There are several advantages to conducting face-to-face interviews; these include the following:

  • A high response rate and the ability to distribute health information or other materials (such as resource lists) to the community
  • Directly connecting the community to local staff, increasing the visibility of and trust in the health department
  • The ability to provide anecdotal information (e.g., direct visual inspection of a disaster-affected area, common concerns overheard in the community not captured in the questionnaire) that can help guide response and recovery efforts, implementation of any recommendations or actions, and future plans

CASPER interview teams should always have at least two members. The goal is to get a diverse team of two: male/female, local/non-local, experienced/inexperienced, etc. A traditional CASPER can have up to 30 teams (one per cluster) but keep in mind the availability of equipment, supplies, and personnel. Typically, a CASPER with 15 teams can be conducted in about 10 hours of midweek, early evening data collection.

The CASPER Interview Tipspdf icon provide a general guideline for making the interview successful. The Texas Department of State Health Services created a document of CASPER team member testimonialspdf icon that includes team member experiences conducting CASPER in the field and a short video developed by Harris County Department of Health on just-in-time training.

Public Health Materials

Take the opportunity to distribute public health materials while your interview teams are in the community. This information can range in topic from health education related to the disaster, emergency preparedness (e.g., what is in an emergency supply kit, contact information for disaster services), or other health information (e.g., upcoming influenza season information). This public health material should be given to selected households and any interested community member regardless of participation status.

Examples of potential materials

  • Lists of relevant resources (e.g., location of shelters, phone number of the vital records office, mental health hotline)
  • Health education on carbon monoxide exposure, mold and mildew, or proper cleanup methods
  • Supplies, such as insect repellent and sunscreen

Example materials

Just-in-Time Training

Training the interview teams is one of the most important aspects of conducting a CASPER.  Inconsistent systematic random sampling, incorrect or incomplete forms, and interviewer bias, can invalidate the results and misrepresent the needs of the community. A three to five hour just-in-time training should be conducted either one day in advance or the morning of the first day of data collection. Details on just-in-time training are available as a PowerPoint ppt icon[PPT – 10 MB] and as a 508-compliant PDF pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB].

Interview team members should be informed about the CASPER objectives, roles and responsibilities of team members, how to select households to interview, safety instructions and potential hazards that may be encountered, and logistics such as when to contact headquarters while in the field and future meeting times. A template for CASPER is available.

For more information on topics to cover in just-in-time training, please see CASPER Toolkit, Section 3.1pdf icon.

Learn more

Check out the CASPER Toolkit, Section 3pdf icon for more information about how to conduct a CASPER.

Page last reviewed: February 28, 2020