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The Role of Respondent Debriefing Questions in Questionnaire Development

Jennifer C. Hess and Eleanor Singer
Component ID: #ti1965846778


One-on-one cognitive interviewing techniques such as concurrent think-aloud interviews are increasingly being used in questionnaire development to assess respondents' comprehension of the terms used, their ability to retrieve the information requested, and the processes they use in doing so. The results of such cognitive interviews are then applied by the questionnaire developer to construct new questions or revise existing ones. Thus, cognitive techniques have been used primarily at the "front end" of questionnaire development, prior to the administration of the complete questionnaire in a pre- or field test. Although their usefulness in diagnosing problem questions has been widely recognized, they also have serious limitations. Because of the time needed to conduct and analyze such interviews, typically only a very small number of purposively chosen respondents is interviewed at the questionnaire development phase, and methods of analyzing such interviews and of drawing conclusions from them are not well codified.

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