University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Developing a scale of communicative participation: a cognitive interviewing study


Yorkston KM, Baylor CR, Dietz J, Dudgeon BJ, Eadie T, Miller RM, Amtmann D



Publication Info:

Disability and Rehabilitation, 30(6):425-33


PURPOSE: To revise and improve the instructions, candidate items and response format for a tool to measure communicative participation.
METHOD: Cognitive interviewing techniques, designed to study the process that respondents use to answer survey questions, were used to test a bank of candidate items for a measure of communicative participation. Twelve participants with spasmodic dysphonia (SD), a neurologic condition characterized by voice and speech changes, were asked to complete a sample questionnaire and then were interviewed regarding the clarity of instructions, candidate items and response format. Analysis of the interviews was conducted using qualitative techniques and resulted in a series of modifications to the measurement tool.
RESULTS: Problems identified related to candidate items included inadequate context, double-barreled or ambiguous items, redundancy, unclear or generally confusing items, infrequent situations, and cultural sensitivity. Participants preferred response options that asked them to rate interference rather than other dimensions such as satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS; Subtle differences in items and response options make key differences in how participants interpret and make decisions about their responses. Rich contextual information is needed in order to respond to items that sample communicative participation. Participants preferred response options that capture the barriers that they experience when participating in everyday communication situations.

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