Cognitive interviews: Getting what you want from surveys

Session Number: 1757
Track: Quantitative Methods: Theory and Design
Session Type: Skill-Building Workshop
Tags: Survey Design
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Jennifer L. Ridgeway [Principal Health Services Analyst - Mayo Clinic]
Time: Nov 09, 2017 (02:15 PM - 03:00 PM)
Room: Delaware A

Theme: Learning from Others
Audience Level: Beginner

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Surveys can be an efficient and effective way of gathering information on participant characteristics, stakeholder perspectives, and program outcomes. However, their validity rests in part on whether respondents can navigate the questions and interpret them as the evaluator intended. Cognitive interviewing is a method of pre-testing survey instruments that involves interviewing respondents during or after they complete the draft survey in order to understand how they are interpreting question meaning and using the response options. It is a critical step in survey design, and its use can help evaluators identify problems with survey questions or response wording before the survey is administered to larger numbers of people. Pre-testing surveys in this way also increases confidence in the evaluation results. This session will provide an overview of cognitive interviewing techniques including think-aloud interviewing and concurrent or retrospective probing using examples. The session will also present options for analyzing and reporting results.