Starting or Strengthening a Drug Bulletin - A Practical Manual
(2005; 165 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentHow the manual was produced
View the documentAbout ISDB
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Rational use of medicines
Open this folder and view contents3. What are drug bulletins?
Open this folder and view contents4. Defining aims, target and type of bulletin
Open this folder and view contents5. Planning resources
Open this folder and view contents6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
Open this folder and view contents7. The editorial process
Open this folder and view contents8. Reviewing a new drug: is it a therapeutic advance?
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexe to Chapter 8: Evaluating harm
Open this folder and view contents9. Design and production
Open this folder and view contents10. Dissemination
Open this folder and view contents11. Organizational and legal issues
Close this folder12. Evaluating quality and usefulness
View the document12.1 Introduction
View the document12.2 Evaluation brings many benefits
View the document12.3 Three approaches: audit, feedback and impact assessment
View the document12.4 Start with your own evaluation of the bulletin
Close this folder12.5 Assessing readers' opinions of the bulletin
View the document12.5.1 Methods of assessing readers’ opinions
View the document12.5.2 Potential problems
View the document12.5.3 Selecting the data collection method
View the document12.5.4 Planning the survey
View the document12.5.5 How many replies are enough?
View the document12.5.6 Drafting the questions
View the document12.6 Evaluating the impact of the bulletin
View the document12.7 Feedback is achievable and invaluable
View the document12.8 Simple observations can tell a lot
View the document12.9 References
Open this folder and view contents13. Partnership and collaboration
Open this folder and view contents14. Keeping records and creating a memory
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Electronic sources of information

12.5.2 Potential problems

One of the problems with carrying out assessments is getting enough readers, and a representative cross-section of readers, to respond. Another is to make sure that the information they provide is accurate.

Reader feedback poses other potential problems including recall bias, because of people’s selective memory, and non-representative results, because people who bother to fill in a questionnaire and send it back may have different opinions from those who do not reply. In addition, the quality of the data may be poor due to incomplete responses to surveys, inconsistent interview technique or a poorly designed survey. The likelihood of poor quality data can be minimised through validating questions and using standardised interview techniques. The references on survey design listed at the end of this chapter provide additional information.

Assessments of readers’ opinions measure how people think the bulletin has influenced their behaviour, not actual behavioural changes. Despite these limitations, canvassing the views of readers through surveys, discussions or interviews provides invaluable feedback and should be a regular part of the activity of all drug bulletins. Letters to the Editor and other feedback (e.g. letters to other publications) can also give an indication about what readers are thinking.

When designing a readership survey, it is useful to include questions relating to the bulletin’s impact. For example, a survey of doctors might ask whether articles have influenced prescribing practices, helped them to recognise an adverse drug reaction or interaction in a patient, or changed the advice given to patients. These types of questions cannot measure true behavioural change. People’s reports of changes in their own behaviour are often much more optimistic than reality. However, they do provide an indication of the value readers place on the information in the bulletin. If they are suspicious or critical of the bulletin’s advice, they are less likely to report a behavioural change.

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