Questionnaire Adapting: Little Changes Mean a Lot

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Abstract

Questionnaire development involves rigorous testing to ensure reliability and validity. Due to time and cost constraints of developing new questionnaires, researchers often adapt existing questionnaires to better fit the purpose of their study. However, the effect of such adaptations is unclear. We conducted cognitive interviews as a method to evaluate the understanding of original and adapted questionnaire items to be applied in a future study. The findings revealed that all subjects (a) comprehended the original and adapted items differently, (b) changed their scores after comparing the original to the adapted items, and (c) were unanimous in stating that the adapted items were easier to understand. Cognitive interviewing allowed us to assess the interpretation of adapted items in a useful and efficient manner before use in data collection.

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