Week 7: Pilot Tests

May 13, 2019

When I arrived at Rory Meyers on Monday, my advisor notified me that she would be arriving a little later than usual as she was busy conducting the very first pilot test for our Phase 2 recruitment process! By recruiting a few participants, the pilot test was meant to assess the mechanics/formatting of the Project YESS eligibility screener forms that potential participants complete and identify any problems in the overall instructions for joining the study. In the meantime while waiting for her, I worked on my deliverable, compiling main findings from the extensive literature reviews I performed while working with Project YESS in efforts to introduce steps for optimizing an effective HIV intervention program for youth.

Once my advisor arrived, she gave me the screening forms that the participants signed. With those forms, I noted their contact information and organized them into the project log. I also used the delegated study phone to contact the participants via text to inform them about potential appointments in the future to take the survey for the remaining hour of the day.

On Tuesday, my advisor and I noticed that when implementing the corrections in the phase 2 surveys that some Project YESS staff and I suggested a couples weeks earlier and testing the revised versions, the software program began to freeze whenever the survey was completed and submitted. After analyzing the problem, it was noticed by my project advisor that several questions were causing the program to freeze due to its excessive number of answer choices: each question can only hold a maximum of 18 answer choices before it begins to freeze. This presented a big challenge for us as we were approaching the start to phase 2, nonetheless, I was able to resolve it. While working with project staff, I identified the questions that exceeded the answer capacity and conducted revisions in order to limit the number of answer choices. Offering ideas on how particular answer choices that aren’t fully applicable to the question being asked could be eliminated, how answer choices that seem redundant to each other and could be collapsed into one answer choice, or how certain words/phrases could be eliminated in certain answer choices to keep them short and comprehensible for the respondent.

After working to resolve the problem that we were encountering with the software, the entire team met to discuss the methods out in place to correct the issue on Thursday. The purpose of this meeting was to identify if the revisions that were made would still accurately reflect the data that we needed to gather while also adhering to the guidelines of the software. We looked over a printed document of the survey that had all of the notes, edits, and suggestions each one of us made and decided whether or not they were applicable.


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