The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged researchers working in physical contact with research participants. Cognitive interviews examine whether study components (most often questionnaire items) are worded or structured in a manner that allows study participants to interpret the items in a way intended by the researcher. We developed guidelines to conduct cognitive interviews virtually to accommodate interviewees who have limited access to the internet. The guidelines describe the essential communication and safety equipment requirements and outline a procedure for collecting responses while maintaining the safety of the participants and researchers. Furthermore, the guidelines provide suggestions regarding training of participants to use the technology, encouraging them to respond aloud (a potential challenge given that the researcher is not physically present with the participant), and testing and deploying the equipment prior to the interview. Finally, the guidelines emphasize the need to adapt the interview to the circumstances and anticipate potential problems that might arise.
- Cognitive interview
- Tablet computer