Invited Paper C The use of cognitive interviewing techniques in quality of life and patient-reported outcomes assessment  pp. 610-622

Invited Paper C The use of cognitive interviewing techniques in quality of life and patient-reported outcomes assessment

By Gordon Ph.D. Willis, Bryce B. Ph.D. Reeve and Ivan Ph.D. Barofsky

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As pointed out by multiple researchers, including several contributors to this volume, the designers of any health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) questionnaire must consider the viewpoint of the individual who is asked to complete that instrument.– In particular, it is imperative that we understand the cognitive aspects of the response process — what the respondent understands the questions to be asking, his or her recall of relevant information (or failure to recall it), and other judgment and decision processes that influence the nature of the given answers that constitute our raw data. HRQOL instrument developers appear to vary widely in the extent to which they explicitly take into account respondent cognition, and several questionnaires have been either developed or evaluated through means that emphasize the respondent point of view or that empirically investigate key cognitive processes.,

However, the application of cognitive principles and techniques is inconsistent, often unsystematic, or not well documented. Ganz and Goodwin have suggested that instrument development is generally not a high priority in the peer-review process. The purpose of the current chapter is to suggest means for enhancing both practice and communication between researchers in this regard by: (a) advocating the explicit use of the cognitive interviewing method as a systematic means for studying cognition, and (b) describing the ways this technique can be used to inform several key design decisions that confront HRQOL questionnaire developers. This chapter is not intended to review extant quality-of-life instruments (see Chapter 3 by Erickson in this volume).

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