Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health Services Research

Committee Director

James Alan Neff

Committee Member

Holly Gaff

Committee Member

James F. Paulson


States and the federal government continue to invest heavily in child welfare information systems (CWIS) to improve caseworkers' performance, but the extent to which these systems meet caseworkers' needs is unclear. In the field of child welfare there are no reliable user-evaluation measures states can use to assess the degree to which a CWIS meets caseworkers' needs, and identify which specific features of the CWIS most need improvement. The study developed such a measure based on the task-technology fit (TTF) framework, which posits that users will evaluate the usefulness of a technology based on how well it meets their tasks needs and individual abilities.

Concept mapping with caseworkers was used to produce an initial pool of 100 items and 10 dimensions that measure various facets of TTF, which is the central construct of the TTF framework. The items and dimensions were refined with survey responses from 240 caseworkers based on factor analysis and psychometric testing, which yielded a 4-factor TTF construct related to Case Tracking and Prioritizing, IT Support, CWIS Training, and Data Capture and Control. Structural equation modeling was used to test the propositions suggested by the TIT framework, namely that individual, task, and technology characteristics impact user evaluations of TTF, and that TTF impacts individual performance. There was mixed support for the hypotheses in the TTF framework: Workers with more experience on the CWIS gave significantly higher evaluations on all four TTF dimensions. Workers who viewed the CWIS as more compatible with their work style (Work Compatibility) gave significantly higher evaluations on Data Capture and Control. Higher evaluations on Case Tracking and Support was positively and significantly related to Individual Performance. No support was found for the relationship between Task Characteristics, worker type, and urban/rural setting on any TTF dimension. The analysis found support for an unanticipated positive and direct relationship between Work Compatibility and Individual Performance, such that workers who viewed the CWIS as more compatible with their work style reported greater levels of Individual Performance. Work Compatibility explained most of the variance in Individual Performance, and suppressed the effect of other variables in the TTF framework.