interviews are used to test respondents’ understanding of the
meaning of questions or statements and are used in designing questionnaires,
patient instructions and protocols. Cognitive testing can also
be used with patient and family education material. (For a summary
table of data collection techniques click
here). Content analysis is the preferred technique with data
gathered in this way. You can listen to edited sections of cognitive
interviews by clicking
(The two respondents explicitly agreed to share these sections
of their interviews.) Some companies specialize in conducting
cognitive testing interviews. You can find them by searching "cognitive
testing" on the Internet.
are structured group interviews originally invented in the advertising
and marketing industries. Focus groups, when used properly, are
very efficient for gathering data in clinical symptom research.
includes some classic articles from the advertising and marketing
literature as well as a book which provides all the information
you will need to conduct focus groups.
important aspects of good focus groups are:
skilled moderator who has specific training
for conducting focus groups,
eligibility criteria for participants,
speaking protocol to avoid bias,
that encourage a two to three minute thoughtful
report or opinion.
A focus group
can be a dismal experience for everyone if these four requirements
are not met. You can listen to edited sections of a focus group
by clicking here. (The respondents
on the recording explicitly agreed to share these sections, which
include their first names.) To read two recent articles on focus
groups published by The Association of Perioperative Registered
Nurses, (AORN) click
here. For a detailed focus group implementation protocol click
here. You can work with an established local investigator
or there are also companies who will conduct focus groups for
you. Many do excellent work. You can find them by searching "focus
groups" on the Internet. Bennett,
2000 and Steinhauser,
2000 are examples of focus group research.
data can be collected on tape, paper, video, and
computers or in journals or letters. Like interviews,
the instructions can lead to fairly structured
or very broad ranging responses. People’s narrative
telling ability varies. You will get some very
rich data and some sparse comments. Some people
will agree to participate, but in fact, not give
you any data at all. You can improve the response
rate and the quality of the data by paying attention
to these important pilot activities:
a narrative data collection mechanism with the
population that specifically interests you.
detailed instructions with the population, that
specifically interests you.
more detail about narratives click