STEPHANIE WILLSON and KRISTEN MILLER
National Center for Health Statistics
Cognitive interviewing studies can achieve multiple research goals regarding the performance of a survey question. The types of analytic conclusions that a study can ultimately make stem from methodological decisions determined throughout the study, beginning with data collection. In a cognitive interviewing study, two topics are pertinent to data collection: sample selection and the interview itself. This chapter reviews sample design issues, including sample composition and sample size. In discussing the interview process, the chapter will address the role of the interviewer and the role of the respondent. It is necessary to consider what respondents can and cannot know about their experiences or assessments of a question as well as how they can best convey that information. The interviewer is responsible for both recognizing and eliciting the kind of information that is knowable to the respondent. A central theme emerges throughout this chapter: data quality. In this discussion, the characteristics of data quality for cognitive interviews are addressed, as well as how best to achieve those criteria. Taken together, these key components of data collection impact the quality of a cognitive interviewing study and the extent to which study conclusions can be made.
When beginning a cognitive interviewing study, decisions must ...