The Wisconsin Moms Study (WiscMoms)


Lawrence Berger, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Social Work and Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Maria Cancian, Professor of Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nora Cate Schaeffer, Sewell Bascom Professor of Sociology and Faculty Director, University of Wisconsin Survey Center


The Wisconsin Moms Study (WiscMoms) is a study of about 250 mothers of young children in the Milwaukee area.

UWSC will conduct a total of 3 interviews with each participant over a 12-month period. The first is an hour-long, in-person (CAPI) interview. The second interview will occur about 6 months later and is a shorter telephone interview. This second interview will also include an in-person non-response follow-up effort. The third and final interview is another hour-long, in-person (CAPI) interview occurring about 1 year after the first interview..

Researchers are interested in a number of topics, among them the household make-up of families in which siblings might have different fathers, the security and availability of food and other necessary resources, and the ways in which young mothers make use of their social network.

These interviews are unique in that they utilize a collaborative interviewing approach. This approach includes the use of a tablet by the respondent during the interview. The respondent’s answers are displayed on the tablet in easy-to-read grids and timelines, which allows the respondent to get an overview of the structure of the task, promotes accurate recall, decreases the length of the overall interview, and facilitates confirmation (or correction) of information with the interviewer. The interview is standardized, however, the interviewer is also trained in techniques which allow them to be more responsive to information the respondent has volunteered.


Karen Zoladz


April 2017 – September 2018