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What is Cognitive Debriefing?

Cognitive debriefing is a language test of a linguistically validated questionnaire of healthy volunteers or patients with a specific disease to prove that the translation is indeed clear, easy to understand, relevant and culturally adapted to future users. Nataliya Nedkova at NN Translations EOOD explains more about the concept of cognitive debriefing.


‘What is Cognitive Debriefing?’

  1. Purpose

The purpose of each interview is to assess the clarity of the translation of the patient’s questionnaire, its relevance to a specific culture, and whether it is appropriate for the target audience.

Note: The purpose of the interview is NOT to gather information on whether the patient is in good or bad health.

A language expert reviews the patient’s responses and assesses whether the translation needs to be revised. The language expert makes the final decisions on whether further changes to the translation need to be made to ensure that any patient can understand each translated question. The revised translation is usually used in much larger future studies.

It is important for the interviewer to keep in mind that the sole purpose of the interview is to confirm that the patient’s questionnaire is clear and appropriate for the language and country in which it is being tested.

The cognitive debriefing form provided should be used as a tool for interviewing respondents.

  1. Interviews

The purpose of each interview is to identify the questions and the possible answers in the patient’s questionnaire that are problematic, to determine why, and to record the suggestions given by the respondents.

The interviewer encourages respondents to focus on how the questions are expressed, rather than the order or structure of the possible answers.

Each interview consists of three parts:

  1. Introductory part, in which the interviewer provides information about the interview to the respondent;
  2. Filling in the questionnaire by the respondent independently;
  3. Discussion of the point’s statement between the respondent and the interviewer.

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