Piloting

10 11 2010

By Paul Sonenthal

Today marked a big step forward in my Coping project. This morning I traveled to three different ARV clinics to sit in and watch the first pilot tests of my study questionnaires. It was very exciting to see 4 months of hard work finally start to take shape in a concrete way that engages patients. But at the same time I also realized that I still have a lot more work to go.

There was no way I could have anticipated all the questions that came up during the first day of piloting. The interviewers came to me with questions like: If a patient says they aren’t experiencing any side effects at all, should we skip all the following questions about specific side effects (e.g. “Have you had a fever?”) or should we still ask them just to be certain and run risk of annoying the patient? Although I’m inclined to run the risk of annoying the patient, our interviewers are understandably less enthusiastic about that approach.

Over the course of the piloting period I will have to sort through all of these issues so that we are as prepared as possible when actual data collection begins.

A page from the Setswana questionnaire

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