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Health E-Learning and Media Team
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4. Pre-testing

Pretesting involves testing your questionnaire with a group of people who might be your friends or colleagues. Ideally, they should have similar characteristics to your target research population. Only a small number, perhaps 12 to 50 people are required at this stage.

The exact nature of the pre-testing should be determined in relation to cost, time and other resource constraints. Remember, even one person is better than none at this stage.

Pre-testing helps us to identify misunderstandings in the questionnaire, time commitment and burden of responding to the questionnaire and whether your questionnaire is covering essential areas that are important for your research and study participants.

Pre-testing might also involve gaining expert opinion to evaluate the merit of the content of the questionnaire.

On some occasions researchers will need to use an existing valid and reliable questionnaire, but will have to translate it into another language. This is perfectly valid. If it is translated to the mother tongue of the potential participants, it needs to be pre-tested following the process of forward translation, from the original language to the participants' language by at least 2 independent bilingual translators and then back translation to the original language by an expert panel to check for reliability and meaning retention. For more information of this process please refer back to the resources section.


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