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Welcome to CAPS

 Frequently asked questions. . .
How are CAPS participants chosen?
The CAPS study was designed to represent all residents of Cape Town who were between the ages of 14 and 22 in late 2002. In order to select households, we began by choosing about 440 neighbourhoods from all parts of metropolitan Cape Town (see the map on the front page of this newsletter). Then we randomly selected about 25 households from each of these neighbourhoods. This was done by choosing, for example, every tenth house in a neighbourhood. As a result, the CAPS sample is representative of all geographic areas, population groups, and income levels in Cape Town. Within the selected households we tried to interview all young people between the ages of 14 and 22 years old. This is why in many cases we interviewed brothers and sisters.
What happens to the information CAPS participants provide?
We carefully examine the questionnaires brought in by our interviewers to check they have been completed and the answers are clear. In some cases we have to return to the participant to clarify something or to ask a question that was missed. We also contact some participants to make sure that the interview was conducted appropriately. After that, we have a heavy task of “cleaning” the computerized dataset and organizing it in ways that make it user-friendly so that it can be given to researchers.
How is confidentiality protected?
It is very important to us that we protect the confidentiality of all of the information given us. The paper questionnaires that are filled in by our interviewers are kept in locked rooms at UCT. Although we need to keep track of names and contact details in order to find participants for future rounds of CAPS, these details are only used by the project staff. We remove all names, addresses, and other identifying information before we allow researchers to use the computerized data. While researchers can see the answers that our participants gave to the interviewers, they have no idea who actually provided those answers.
Why is each individual’s participation important?
The CAPS sample represents approximately 1% of the population of Cape Town that was age 14 to 22 in 2002. This means that the role of each participant in the CAPS study is to “represent” about 100 other young adults who are similar. If we lose a CAPS participant from the study, it is as if we lose the information for 100 young people in Cape Town with similar characteristics. Since the goal of CAPS is to understand the lives of all young people in Cape Town, it is important that we continue to follow all of the people who were chosen to participate in 2002. The value of a panel data-set depends on having a complete set of information on participants, from all of the interviews.
What happens when CAPS participants move out of Cape Town?
Our goal is to keep track of all of the participants who were selected for the CAPS sample in 2002, even if they move out of Cape Town. Some of the participants in CAPS have moved to the Eastern Cape or elsewhere in South Africa, and some have even moved overseas. Our interviewing and tracking teams will try to locate participants who move by contacting family members or the individuals whose contact details were given to us. We will use the mail, telephone and internet to try to reach participants. In the event that participants do move, we would really appreciate it if they would send us their new address, by mail, e-mail, telephone or whatever method is convenient.
What are the benefits from participating in CAPS?
With 4,800 young adults in our sample, we unfortunately cannot offer employment, bursaries or financial compensation to our participants. As a sign of our great appreciation, we like to offer small tokens of our gratitude. We hope that participants will find the experience interesting and that they will appreciate the fact that they are making a valuable contribution to our understanding of the lives of young people, and to the improvement of programs and policies that affect young South Africans.
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