Cognitive Interviewing: A Tool for Improving Questionnaire Design

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SAGE Publications, 2005 - Social Science - 335 pages
'As both an academic instructor in questionnaire design and a research design methodologist for the federal government, I feel this book is very timely, useful for students and practitioners, and unique in its use of real world practical examples that most everyone can relate' - Terry Richardson, General Accounting Office 'sThe combination of theory and practical application will make this a useful book for students as well as professionals who want to learn how to incorporate cognitive interviewing into the questionnaire design process' - Rachel Caspar, RTI International The design and evaluation of questionnaires and of other written and oral materials is a challenging endeavor, fraught with potential pitfalls. Cognitive Interviewing: A Tool for Improving Questionnaire Design describes a means of systematically developing survey questions through investigations that intensively probe the thought processes of individuals who are presented with those inquiries. The work provides general guidance about questionnaire design, development, and pre-testing sequence, with an emphasis on the cognitive interview. In particular, the book gives detailed instructions about the use of verbal probing techniques, and how one can elicit additional information from subjects about their thinking and about the manner in which they react to tested questions. These tools help researchers discover how well their questions are working, where they are failing, and determine what they can do to rectify the wide variety of problems that may surface while working with questionnaires. Cognitive Interviewing is ideally suited as a course text for advanced undergraduate and graduate research courses across the social sciences. Professional researchers and faculty in the social sciences, as well as practice fields such as medicine, business, and education, will also find this an invaluable reference for survey research. (Quelle:

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About the author (2005)

Gordon B. Willis is a cognitive psychologist in the Applied Research Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health; and lectures for the Joint Program for Survey Methodology (JPSM). Prior to that, he was a research methodologist at Research Triangle Institutes in Rockville, Maryland, where he established a cognitive laboratory facility. He also worked for over a decade in the Questionnaire Design Research Laboratory at the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, developing and applying cognitive interviewing techniques. Dr. Willis attended Oberlin College, and received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University. He now works mainly on the development and evaluation of questionnaires that collect information on cancer risk factors. His main research interest is the evaluation of survey pretesting techniques, especially the cognitive interview. Dr. Willis is an authority on the use of cognitive interviewing, based on his work on developing and practicing these methods at three different organizations. He has personally conducted hundreds of cognitiv interviews and overseen the work of teams of interviewers. He has taught cognitive interviewing in short courses at survey conferences and in university lectures. Willis has also written extensively on the practice and theoretical and empirical evaluation of cognitive interviewing techniques.

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