- Medicine Information and Evidence for Policy > Information and Publications
- Medicine Access and Rational Use > Rational Use
(2005; 165 pages)
12.5.3 Selecting the data collection method
The data collection method used (survey on paper or by e-mail, focus group discussions or interviews) depends on the type and depth of information needed, and on available resources. For example, if the aim is to find out if the bulletin is read and about the usefulness of various sections, then a survey would be preferable as it can canvass the opinion of many readers quite inexpensively. If you require more qualitative information on complex issues, such as what depth is required in adverse reaction articles or what format is preferred, then focus group discussions or interviews may be preferable. A face-to-face or telephone interview can allow you to explore the responses. However, these can be costly, both in terms of money and time, and possibly non-representative because of the nonrandom selection of a sample or because only interested readers agree to participate. If you want to know whether the quality of the bulletin’s information is high and consistent, then external review by experts is needed. To find out if articles change prescribing behaviour, an impact evaluation is needed.
Next consider who will conduct the assessment. The best way to avoid bias is to ask an independent external researcher to carry it out. However, this is likely to be more costly than carrying out the assessment yourself.