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Effective questionnaire design: How to use cognitive interviews to refine questionnaire items. J Neonatal Perinatal Med 2022;15(2):345-349



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85128493459   1 Citation


BACKGROUND: Cognitive interviewing is a technique that can be used to improve and refine questionnaire items. We describe the basic methodology of cognitive interviewing and illustrate its utility through our experience using cognitive interviews to refine a questionnaire assessing parental understanding of concepts related to preterm birth.

METHODS: Cognitive interviews were conducted using current best practices. Results were analyzed by the multidisciplinary research team and questionnaire items that were revealed to be problematic were revised.

RESULTS: Revisions to the questionnaire items were made to improve clarity and to elicit responses that truly reflected the participants understanding of the concept.

CONCLUSION: Cognitive interviewing is a useful methodology for improving validity of questionnaire items, we recommend researchers developing new questionnaire items design and complete cognitive interviews to improve their items and increase confidence in study conclusions.

Author List

Balza JS, Cusatis R, McDonnell SM, Basir MA, Flynn KE


Mir Abdul Basir MD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Rachel N. Cusatis PhD Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Kathryn Eve Flynn PhD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Infant, Newborn
Premature Birth
Reproducibility of Results
Surveys and Questionnaires