Do You Understand What I Mean? How Cognitive Interviewing Can Strengthen Valid, Reliable Study Instruments And Dissemination Products

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Anne Hofmeyer
Brenda Helen Sheingold
Ruth Taylor


Cognitive Interviewing, Data Quality, Pretesting, Instrumentation, Methodology, Team-Based Research, Geographic, Linguistic, Cultural Diversity, Dissemination


It is now well accepted that working in research teams that span universities, jurisdictions and countries can be rewarding and economically prudent. To this end, investigators collaborate in the pursuit of knowledge to address human and societal problems and translate results into local and global contexts. This implies that investigators need to develop study instruments that are fit for purpose and strategically manage issues arising from geographical, linguistic and cultural diversity.  A proven method is cognitive interviewing to pre-test the study materials to ensure clarity and relevance in the study population. This paper describes the steps taken to increase the methodological reliability of study instruments through the use of cognitive interviewing and argues this technique should be a standard step in instrument development. 


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