Pre-testing is a method that attempts to improve ideas and prototypes for submitting them to the relevant group representatives and obtaining their results before the final stage (Varkevisser, Pathmanathan & Brownlee, 2003). It may also involve checking whether the material produced is appropriate for the group. It is conducted to determine which the best method to use (Kumar, 2005). Pre-testing is commonly used for methods of collecting data since other methods such as questionnaires, interviewer instructions and observation are frequently prone to subjective interpretation and may distort the results.
Need for pre-testing messages and materials in communication strategy Pretest helps ensure that materials convey a clear and effective message to a program’s target audience (Paliwoda & Ryan’s, 2008). It is valuable at several stages of message and material development. Some methods can be used used in early stages to test concepts while other methods are more useful when materials are close to final form. It is important to pretest the communication content that is to be produced before finalizing them(Kumar, 2005).
By doing so it will give room to gauge reactions, revise the concept and communication materials or may be amend our strategy if its likely to produce undesired results. It is important to make drafts, samples or outlines of materials we intend to produce (Poscente, Rothstein & Irvine, 2002). For pre-testing purposes, one can make drafts, outlines or samples of the materials we intend to develop. Subgroups of population with which pre-testing is done Subgroup analyses in addition to the total study population are common in clinical trials.
It is well recognized that findings from subgroup analyses do not provide confirmatory evidence for subgroup treatment (Kumar, 2005). PRETESTING METHODS According to Kumar (2005), the most widely used pre-testing tool is the cognitive interview. The other method is central location intercept concept which purpose is to obtain many individual reactions. There is also focus group, which purpose is to obtain insights about audience concerns, beliefs, reactions, and vocabulary.
Theartre testing is another method which purpose is to obtain many respondents at once, measure and recall under conditions that simulate actual viewing. There is also self-administered questionnaire, which can be mailed or personally delivered (Paliwoda & Ryan’s, 2008). Omnibus survey is also used where data on a wide variety of subjects is collected during the same interview. Interpreting results from pre-testing and refining the messages
Refine the most promising concepts and develop messages using your own creative briefs using your creative briefs, results from your concept testing, and a review of relevant communication and behavioral theories. Ensure that you revise the existing materials if necessary. Information messages should communicate some crucial characteristics such as accuracy, completeness, and relevancy (Paliwoda & Ryan’s, 2008). REFERENCES Kumar, R, (2005). Research Methodology: a step by step guide for beginners.
Vancouver: VC Sage publications Paliwoda S. J. and Ryan’s J. K. (2008). Business and economics. Massachusetts: MA, Edward Elgar, Poscente, N. , Rothstein, M. , & Irvine, M. J. (2002). Using marketing research methods to evaluate a stage-specific intervention. American Journal of Health Behavior, 26, 243-251. Varkevisser C. M. , Pathmanathan I. and Brownlee A. T. (2003) Designing and conducting health systems research projects: Proposal development and fieldwork, Volume 1 Washington DC, IDRC.