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Guidelines for Selecting Pretest Methods


(AED, JHU, and PN 1993)

You must choose the method that works best. The following are points to consider in determining the best method.

  • The material's format and complexity (e.g., longer and more complex materials may require having an interviewer to ensure the participants complete the pretest)
  • The material's degree of sensitivity (e.g., youth may be more comfortable with a self-administered questionnaire on topics such as sex and AIDS)
  • Target audience characteristics (e.g., interest and willingness to respond, lack of reading skills or other limitations)
  • Where materials can be accessed (e.g., clinic, school, home)
  • Purpose of the pretest (e.g., is more in-depth information about target audience perceptions of the topic desired?)
  • Resources available for pretesting (e.g., using trained interviewers and companies to recruit for and conduct focus groups are more expensive options; self-administered pretests can be more inexpensive)
  • Consider using a combination of methods to meet pretest purpose and budget (e.g., use a larger number of self-tests, followed by a limited number of individual interviews to clarify findings or explore problematic areas)

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