Research Perspectives in practice| Volume 104, ISSUE 10, P1577-1585, October 2004

Quality control for interviews to obtain dietary recalls from children for research studies


      Quality control is an important aspect of a study because the quality of data collected provides a foundation for the conclusions drawn from the study. For studies that include interviews, establishing quality control for interviews is critical in ascertaining whether interviews are conducted according to protocol. Despite the importance of quality control for interviews, few studies adequately document the quality control procedures used during data collection. This article reviews quality control for interviews and describes methods and results of quality control for interviews from two of our studies regarding the accuracy of children’s dietary recalls; the focus is on quality control regarding interviewer performance during the interview, and examples are provided from studies with children. For our two studies, every interview was audio recorded and transcribed. The audio recording and typed transcript from one interview conducted by each research dietitian either weekly or daily were randomly selected and reviewed by another research dietitian, who completed a standardized quality control for interviews checklist.Major strengths of the methods of quality control for interviews in our two studies include: (a) interviews obtained for data collection were randomly selected for quality control for interviews, and (b) quality control for interviews was assessed on a regular basis throughout data collection. The methods of quality control for interviews described may help researchers design appropriate methods of quality control for interviews for future studies.
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      S. D. Baxter is a research professor and C. H. Guinn a research dietitian, University of South Carolina, Ar-nold School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiol-ogy and Biostatistics, Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities, Columbia. W. O. Thompson is director and professor emeritus, Office of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta. At the time of the study, N. M. Shaffer, S. Baxter, M. L. Baglio, C. H. Guinn, and F. H. A. Frye were at the Medical College of Georgia, Department Pediatrics, Georgia Prevention Institute, Augusta.