Cognitive Testing

Although the use of good questionnaire design practice and review by experts can be very effective in producing good quality questionnaires, it is extremely useful to also pretest these on individuals who are representative of the population to be surveyed.

To this end, ARP uses cognitive testing procedures in which draft versions of questionnaires are tested in individual interviewing sessions by specially trained interviewers. The objective of this interviewing is to probe respondents' understanding of the questions, and their thinking as they provide answer. This allows interviewers to identify covert problems not otherwise apparent in the design and review process. Cognitive interviewing techniques are used in developing a wide variety of surveys by federal agencies and have come to be regarded as a standard in applying "best practices" for questionnaire development.

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Last modified:
28 Apr 2006
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