April 2009
Volume 50, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2009
A Review of Questionnaire Use in the Visual Sciences: Do Disparities Exist Within Survey Collection Methodology?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • L. D. McIntosh
    Ophthalmology, Washington Univ School of Med, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  L.D. McIntosh, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  None.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2009, Vol.50, 3773. doi:
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      L. D. McIntosh; A Review of Questionnaire Use in the Visual Sciences: Do Disparities Exist Within Survey Collection Methodology?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):3773.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : Within vision clinical research it is common practice to gather quality of life data from paper surveys or have an interviewer read the questionnaire aloud. Studies have shown different methods of survey delivery and data collection give different results - based solely on the mode of delivery. Moreover, issues with individuals who cannot or do not complete the survey via either method are also vital to overcome. It is important to understand aspects of survey methodology within the visual sciences to identify sub-populations of individuals that may be overlooked in studies, hence, causing disparities within the research. It is equally important to determine if the mode of delivery produces different quality of life health outcomes. The results should provide guidance in improving research, data collection methods, and accessibility of surveys for all visually impaired individuals.

Methods: : In this research, I summarized ten years of literature in the visual sciences showing which surveys are being used to assess quality of life, what methods of survey delivery are employed, and sensitivity of the information being collected. The literature was selected if they were published between 1998 and 2007, employed a survey within the study, were published in English, and reported the vision level of participants. Additional literature from other health sciences was briefly explored to review similar concerns with research collection methods.

Results: : The most common type of data collection through surveys were paper-and-pencil (self-administered) and interviewer assisted. Many studies employed both delivery methods within the same study. More studies have higher vision functioning participants than low-vision functioning individuals. The method of survey delivery was not reported in some surveys.

Conclusions: : Careful attention is needed by clinical researchers in determining the most effective method of data collection when conducting quality of life surveys. Combined delivery methods may introduce biases in the results. Furthermore, the method of survey delivery may exclude participants who are unable to read the survey or who cannot process the information presented aurally.

Keywords: clinical research methodology • quality of life 

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