Piloting, part 2

19 11 2010

By Paul Sonenthal

In several of the pilot questionnaires, we ask questions like “how frequently do you experience this symptom?” followed by a series of choices including “not at all,” “rarely,” “sometimes,” “often,” and “very often.”

To me, it all seems pretty standard. After all, I answer questionnaires like this on a regular basis (in fact, there are probably 2 or 3 sent by Duke sitting in my inbox right now). Indeed, this is the format used by many clinical researchers to gather information.

However, the questionnaires I am using have never been validated in Botswana or even translated into Setswana. And now, multiple patients and study staff have commented that in Setswana there is no good way to translate “rarely” and “sometimes” so that they convey unambiguously separate concepts. Kind of like if I asked you “do you think this blog is amazing or incredible?”

So to fix the problem we decided to collapse the response categories down to “not at all,” “rarely,”  “in between,” and “very often.” Today we went to a neighborhood called Village and tested out the new version in the clinic. So far feedback has been very positive.

Villiage ARV Clinic




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