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Principles of Exposure Measurement in EpidemiologyCollecting, Evaluating, and Improving Measures of Disease Risk Factors$
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Emily White, Bruce K. Armstrong, and Rodolfo Saracci

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198509851

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198509851.001.0001

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The design of questionnaires

The design of questionnaires

Chapter:
(p.175) 6 The design of questionnaires
Source:
Principles of Exposure Measurement in Epidemiology
Author(s):

Emily White

Bruce K. Armstrong

Rodolfo Saracci

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198509851.003.0006

The objective of questionnaire design is to minimize error in exposure measures while creating an instrument that is easy for the interviewer and subject to use and easy to process. This chapter covers principles of questionnaire design in epidemiology for both interviewer-administered and self-administered questionnaires. Topics include the choice of the data items to be covered, use of open-ended vs. closed-ended questions, wording of questions, and the physical format and structure of questionnaires. Special emphasis is given to asking sensitive questions, collecting information on behaviours that vary over time, and aids to recall of exposures in the past. Pre-testing questionnaires is critical and should include expert review of the questionnaire, pre-testing with interviewer and/or respondent debriefings, observation of interviews, and item response distribution analysis. For questions on new or complex exposures, pre-testing could also include cognitive or intensive interviews with respondents or experiments comparing different versions of questions.

Keywords:   questionnaire design, wording of questions, sensitive questions, aids to recall, life events calendar, autobiographical sequences, decomposition, pre-testing, cognitive interviews, interaction coding

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