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About Disaster Research Response Data Collection Tools
What's in Data Collection Tools?
Target Audience - Who uses Data Collection Tools?
Records - What information is in a record?
Search Guide

Links to Tools
Linking to Disaster Research Response Data Collection Tools
Instructions for Tools available in Epi InfoTM
Finding Additional Disaster Health Information Publications from Other Databases


About Disaster Research Response Data Collection Tools

This database contains selected research tools used in all types of disasters. The tools have been compiled as part of the NIH Disaster Research Response Program (DR2) effort to assist researchers to quickly and easily select appropriate tools for collecting data following disasters and public health emergencies. This will reduce the time researchers spend writing their own data collection tools, or finding, selecting, and evaluating pre-existing tools. With responsive research efforts, data can be translated from public health research to practice for improving responder safety, community recovery, and disaster mitigation in disasters.

The Data Collection Tools are a subset of the much larger database Disaster Lit®: the Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health. Disaster Lit is a database of links to disaster medicine and public health documents available on the Internet at no cost. Documents include expert guidelines, research reports, conference proceedings, training classes, factsheets, websites, databases, and similar materials selected from over 700 organizations for a professional audience. Materials are selected from non-commercial publishing sources and supplement disaster-related resources from PubMed (biomedical journal literature) and MedlinePlus (health information for the public). More about Disaster Lit…


What's in Data Collection Tools

  • The Data Collection Tools are surveys, questionnaires, interview scripts, and sets of tools that have actually been used for medical and public health research related to disasters. The database began in 2014 as a cooperative effort between the National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Research Center and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Each database record includes details on the tool and its developers, as well as journal article citations noting its use in disaster research. Some of the tools and journal article citations may be available by paid subscription only (all other materials in Disaster Lit are no-cost).
  • The Data Collection Tools database links to each document at its original source and, for some tools, also archives or keeps a copy of the full text of a resource.
  • The Data Collection Tools database includes materials written in English that are available on the Internet at no cost or by subscription/purchase. If available, additional languages are listed for each resource.


Target Audience - Who uses Disaster Research Response Data Collection Tools?

The Tools are selected for a professional audience of medical and public health researchers.


Records - What information is in a record?

A record is created in Data Collection Tools for each item added to the database. Records include the following descriptive information:

Field Comments
Title Includes subtitle.
Source The original publisher of the item. If the publisher is undetermined, the source is listed as "National Institutes of Health, Disaster Research Response Program (DR2)".
Format One ‘format’ is assigned to each record from this list:
  • Image
  • PDF (including the size of the file)
  • Presentation Slides
  • Text
  • Video or Multimedia
Date Published Date when the item was originally published, based on best available information. May indicate year, year/month or year/month/day. Many records do not have a 'Date Published'.
Data Collection on Topics are assigned from this list:
  • Environmental Exposure(s)
  • Health
  • Mental Health
  • Occupational Health
  • Social Support
  • Specific Body Systems
  • Specific Disasters
Annotation Description of the subject content of the item. Many records include information on:
  • Ease of Use in Disaster Setting
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level
  • Population
  • Length
  • Time to Complete
  • Adminstered by
  • Special Considerations
  • Language(s)
URL The web address for the item.
Authors Up to three authors are listed for each item. Three author’s names followed by “et al.” indicates there are more than three authors.
Type One ‘Publication Type’ is assigned to each record.
Access Notes Contact information for the tool developer.

Citations to journal articles about the tool.

Copyright permission and/or subscription status of the tool.

Description of required software and instructions for connecting to materials.

Description of audiovisual materials.

May also indicate:
  • ‘This link is no longer available.’
  • ‘Site requires free registration.’
Standard Number Records prior to 2013 may include an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).
Includes Research Tools: Yes This document (in the appendices or text) includes data collection instruments that may be useful to researchers following a disaster.
ID Unique identification number assigned by Disaster Lit to each record.


Search Guide

  • How to Search

    To search Data Collection Tools, type a word or phrase into the search box. Click the ‘Search’ button or press the ‘Enter’ button on your keyboard. The results page shows records that found your search words in the:

    • Title and Subtitle
    • Source Name or Acronym
    • Date Published
    • Format
    • Annotation
    • URL
    • Authors
    • Type
    • Access Notes

    Data Collection Tools automatically expands your search to include:

    • Plural and singular forms of search words.
    • Example: a search on hurricane will return results that contain either the word hurricane or hurricanes.
    • Words with or without capitalization.
    • Example: FEMA is also searched as fema.

    To retrieve all records with TWO or MORE terms:

    • Enter the terms in the search box.
    • Enter the terms in the search box with AND between each term. AND must be in uppercase characters.
    • Example: pandemics AND children will return results that contain both the words pandemic and children.

    To search an exact phrase:

    • Use quotation marks around the phrase.
    • Example: "heat wave"

    To search a word or phrase with punctuation:

    • Use quotation marks around the word or phrase. Without quotation marks, all punctuation is ignored.
    • Example: "Are We Ready?"

    To retrieve all records with EITHER of two or more terms:

    • Enter the terms in the search box with OR between each term. OR must be in uppercase characters.
    • Example:  hurricane OR flood will return results with either of the words hurricane or flood

    To retrieve all records with one term, EXCLUDING another term:

    • Enter the terms in the search box with NOT between terms. NOT must be in uppercase characters.
    • Example:  disasters NOT influenza

    Phrases and terms can be combined using the Boolean AND, OR, NOT, quotation marks and parantheses.

    • Examples:
      • (heat OR wave OR extreme) AND “public health”
      • ((terrorism OR bioterrorism OR terrorist) AND "homeland security") NOT anthrax
      • ("food safety" OR "food defense") AND "food and drug administration"
      • sandy AND (hurricane OR superstorm)
      • "hurricane sandy" OR "superstorm sandy"

    To retrieve all records in the database, leave the search box empty and click ‘Search.’

    Search results can be further limited or filtered by 'Data Collection on' or 'Source'.

  • Search Results

    Search results can be viewed online or printed. Search results can be sorted by ‘Source’ or by ‘newest first’ and displayed with 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 or 1,000 records on a web page. The full citation displays for each record. Click ‘Collapse all’ to show only the first three lines of each annotation; click ‘Expand all’ to return to the full annotation for each record. Click ‘Next’ or ‘Previous’ to move back or forward to adjacent pages and ‘First’ or ‘Last’ to display the first and last page of your results.

    • Printing Search Results

      On the search results page, click the ‘Print/Download’ button. To print, click 'Print Page' or use the print function of your web browser. When printing results, up to 10 records with complete annotations will be printed at one time. To print more than 10 records, change ‘Results/page’ to 25 or higher. To print the first lines of an annotation, click ‘Collapse all.’

    • Downloading Search Results

      On the search results page, click the ‘Print/Download’ button. To download, click the ‘Download Records’ button. The records will open in the ‘Notepad’ program and can be saved from Notepad or imported into a reference manager. When downloading results, up to 10 records with complete annotations will be downloaded to Notepad at one time. To download more than 10 records, change ‘Results/page’ to 25 or higher.


Links to Tools

  • Best efforts are made to keep web links (URLs) current. When an item can no longer be found at any URL, the record indicates ‘This link is no longer available.’ and the record is retained for informational/historical purposes.
  • Disaster Research Response Data Collection Tools links to both materials that are in the public domain and materials protected by copyright or licensing restrictions. Please consult the original source for copyright or licensing information.
  • Materials may have licensing restrictions and/or charge fees for some of the proprietary, copyrighted data collection tools. Some of the journal articles that describe the tools may be available by paid subscription only. Each record notes if there is a cost to access the tool, and if any journal articles are “Subscription required.”
  • Please report broken links to


Linking to Disaster Research Response Data Collection Tools

Data Collection Tools encourages other web sites to link to the Collection at or link to individual records.


Instructions for Tools Available in Epi InfoTM

  • What is Epi Info?TM
    Physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, researchers, and other public health workers lacking a background in information technology often have a need for tools that allow the rapid creation of data collection instruments and data analysis, visualization, and reporting using epidemiologic methods. Epi Info, a suite of lightweight software tools, delivers core ad-hoc epidemiologic functionality without the complexity or expense of large, enterprise applications.
  • How is Epi Info Used?
    Epi Info is used worldwide for the rapid assessment of disease outbreaks; for the development of small to mid-sized disease surveillance systems; as ad hoc components integrated with other large scale or enterprise-wide public health information systems; and in the continuous education of public health professionals learning the science of epidemiology, tools, and techniques.  
    • The Form Designer module of Epi Info allows users to create questionnaires and data entry forms in Epi Info. With Form Designer, users place questions and data entry fields on one or many pages and tailor the data entry process with conditional skip patterns, data validation, and custom calculations programmed by the user using Form Designer's Check Code.
    • The Enter module of Epi Info automatically creates the database from the questionnaire in Form Designer. Users enter data, modify existing data, or search for records. With Enter, the Forms are displayed and users perform the data entry while the Check Code validates the data or performs any automatic calculations that were specified in Form Designer.
  • How has Disaster Research Response (DR2) used Epi Info?
    In an effort to quickly collect information electronically, the DR2 team has programmed many of the tools in the database. If users are interested in combining multiple forms or using fields from certain forms to build their own custom surveys then they need simply download each one using the instructions below and use Epi Info to create templates. These templates can be combined in the Create Forms module of Epi Info using instructions provided in the Epi Info user guide.
  • How can I use these Epi Info tools?
    To use these instruments, you must first download and install Epi Info from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. After installation, go to to search for the instruments you wish to include in your project. Once you find the tools of your choice follow the step by step instructions below:
    1. Not all instruments in the database are compatible with the Epi Info software. When you search and find an instrument with theEpi Infoicon, right-click on theEpi Infoicon.
    2. If using Internet Explorer, select “Save target as…” from the menu. If using Firefox or Chrome, select “Save link as…” from the menu.
    3. Save the file in a location you can find later. EpiInfo 7/Templates/Forms folder is the default location.
    4. From the Epi Info menu, select “Create Forms.”
    5. From the Form Designer screen, select “New Project.” (Note: You must create a new project in order to import a downloaded Epi Info instrument.)
    6. In the “New Project” dialogue box, name the project, provide a description, designate a location for your new project and name the form. (Note: Valid project and form names cannot contain spaces or non-alphanumeric characters.)
    7. Go to file menu and select “Get template...” Locate the original instrument file that you downloaded in step 3 and open the file.
    8. If needed, expand the “Templates” and “Forms” folder from the Project Explorer file tree by clicking the (+) sign beside the folder icon.
    9. Drag the form you downloaded and drop it into the blank canvas under “Page 1” of your Project.
    10. Right-click on the blank form you created in Step 6 and delete the form from your Project Explorer file tree.
    11. You may either use the form template you saved as is or modify it using the features of Epi Info. For instructions, refer to the Epi Info user guide. If entering data directly into the form template, select “Enter Data” above the canvas, authorize the creation of a data table and Epi Info will switch to Data Entry mode.


Finding Additional Health Information Publications from Other Databases

  • To expand your search beyond the Data Collection Tools, first do a search in the Tools, then scroll down to ‘Results from:’ on the lower left. Click on each ‘View search results…’ to connect to Disaster Lit, PubMed, and MedlinePlus. Your search strategy may require modification when in these other resources.
  • The Guide to Disaster Medicine and Public Health Literature web page provides an overview of disaster medicine journals, libraries, databases, and other sources of publications. Also check the NLM Catalog for the holdings of the National Library of Medicine.