Use of cognitive interview techniques in the development of an instrument to evaluate the effectiveness of foodborne illness and food allergen training for independently–owned restaurants
Developing educational materials to help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness and allergic reactions from food served in independently owned restaurants is imperative. The purpose of this study is to determine how effective an assessment instrument developed for food safety training is in addressing the target audience’s information processing needs. Following development of the assessment tool, one-on-one cognitive interviews were conducted with foodservice workers using two cognitive interviewing methods: “think-aloud” and verbal probing. Content analysis was used to analyze the field notes collected from study participants. Field notes were structured into a matrix. The constant comparative method used to classify the data contained in the matrix. A deficit in food safety knowledge in our participants, misconceptions, issues with language used, and cultural and educational barriers informed the development of the final assessment instrument. Key categories that emerged from the cognitive interviews were: confusing questions and response options with unfamiliar wording and awkward sentence structure, food safety concept misconceptions, and variable interpretation of food safety terms.