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Cognitive Debriefing: An Interview with Josefina de la Riestra and Berenise Carroli

What is Cognitive Debriefing? How does it add value to and optimize the validity of a medical questionnaire? To answer these questions and understand what it is all about, we held an interview with Josefina de la Riestra and Berenise Carroli, Cognitive Debriefing experts and Ocean Translations collaborators.

What is Cognitive Debriefing?

Josefina: It involves testing whether or not a medical questionnaire is understood. The aim is to validate it and see if patients understand the meaning of the questions. Generally speaking, the original questionnaires we receive are in English and we are asked to review the translation into Argentine Spanish.

Berenise: It is useful in order to know how people may react and how a person experiences the questionnaire or the interview. In this manner, we can establish if it is necessary to make changes, so as to improve the accuracy of the data to be collected. On occasion, some questions may be offensive or not very clear.

How do you engage or select the people to be interviewed?

Josefina: Respondents are selected based on the client´s requirements. Normally, it is 5 people who have the illness that the questions relate to. We contact specialist physicians and request that they make a referral. Both healthcare professionals and patients have always reacted very well.

Berenise: We have done Cognitive Debriefings of questionnaires aimed at people with certain illnesses. First of all, we contact physicians or other healthcare professionals who are experts in the field and we explain to them what we need to do. They then refer their patients to us. It is worth noting that we call the people who help us improve questionnaires respondents, not patients.

How do you test the comprehension level of the respondent?

Josefina: That is assessed throughout the conversation/interview. We ask him/her to explain each item in his/her own words, so that there are no misunderstandings. Ultimately, we want the questionnaire to fit our idiomatic uses, those of our culture.

Berenise: We also ask them what they thought and felt like during the process. Many times, we may ask them to rephrase a question based on what they understood of it, to define the terms used in the questionnaire, to identify confusing questions, and to make suggestions to improve it.

How do you deliver the material for the client to understand whether or not the content is appropriate?

Josefina: The client is the one who determines the way in which the material is to be delivered. Usually, we deliver an individual form for every respondent and a general one, which gives an overall impression and highlights the most significant aspects.

Berenise: Reports are usually in English and change suggestions in Spanish. Other times, both the report and the suggestions are in Spanish. We may also be asked to submit the audio recording of the entire Cognitive Debriefing process.

Adding Value with Cognitive Debriefing

Interested in Cognitive Debriefing? Ocean Translations can help you validate your medical questionnaire from a linguistic standpoint, providing translations that reflect 100% the original meaning and aim.

Please feel free to contact us for more information by clicking here.

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