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Guidelines for Selecting Pretest Methods

Historical Document

This document is provided by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ONLY as an historical reference for the public health community. It is no longer being maintained and the data it contains may no longer be current and/or accurate.

(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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