Pesticide Use during the Gulf War: A Survey of Gulf War Veterans

By Ronald D. Fricker Jr.; Elaine Reardon et al. | Go to book overview

Appendix A
MAIN SURVEY INSTRUMENT

BUILDING THE INSTRUMENT
We began construction of the survey instrument with the acknowledgment that loss of memory over time would be an issue of consideration, particularly in light of the fact that data collection would be conducted approximately seven years after the end of Gulf War. Of greatest concern was recall bias,1 which can have a significant effect on the integrity of collected data in a retrospective study relying on self-reported information (such as self-reports of pesticide use and exposure). Our first course of action, therefore, was to review and summarize existing recall bias literature to learn what methodologies had been developed or used previously to mitigate this effect.Using this review, we assembled a list of methods that have been shown to reduce recall bias and used them for guidance in the development of the instrument:
The use of data-fixed events as landmarks to help place queried events accurately;
The use of cues to increase retrieval time and force respondents to search their experiences extensively, rather than form answers based on their current evaluation of health status (e.g., write longer introductions and include explanatory material);
A mail-out of visual aids with letters in advance of phone interviews;
Inclusion of context-setting introductions before questioning;
____________________
1
Recall bias is defined as the error that appears when people cannot remember whether or when certain events occurred, resulting in either an omission of events or their incorrect placement in time.

-69-

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Pesticide Use during the Gulf War: A Survey of Gulf War Veterans
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Table xi
  • Summary xv
  • Acknowledgments xxvii
  • Acronyms xxix
  • A Note on Trade Names xxxi
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Survey and Sample Description 7
  • Chapter Three - Survey Results 19
  • Chapter Four - Living Conditions and Variations in Pesticide Use 43
  • Chapter Five - Potential Misuse or Overuse of Pesticides 57
  • Appendix A - Main Survey Instrument 69
  • Appendix B - Definition of the Sampling Frame and Sample 75
  • Appendix C - Analytic Methods 95
  • Appendix D - Evaluating Recall Bias 107
  • References 117
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