Do you use surveys or questionnaires in your work? If so, it is important to be sure you are collecting the data you need. Too often, we write surveys without much attention to how participants will understand and respond to our questions. Just like forms, instructions, websites, or any other product, users often have their own interpretations of our content.
We can improve our survey questions with a method called cognitive interviewing. This method was developed to improve questionnaires for large survey companies and government organizations. The method is similar to usability testing, as it evaluates how a user experiences a survey, but there are also some critical differences between the methods. In this session, we will describe cognitive interviewing, and show how it is similar to and different from usability testing. We will discuss how to conduct cognitive interviews, what data to collect, and how to analyze the results.