Questionnaire Formulation

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A: Rationale & Method


Questionnaire MindMap - 5 November, 2020 - a


Why do this?


To learn more about those presenting with "Long-term" COVID-19 and its impact on health and wellbeing.


Who Is Answering? :


Individuals presenting with an illness felt to be viral, felt to be due to the novel coronavirus, and felt to be of abnormally long duration.
It is anticipated that ethnicity, language and cultural differences might make a significant impact on responses obtained. These would best be addressed through modifications that will not be pursued in this preliminary study. So from the start, it should be understood that in this iteration, respondents were found to be primarily of white race, English speaking, and from developed countries in Western Europe and the United States. 
Who Is Asking? :


An individual who was trained and practised for 25 years or more, in the domains of General Surgery, Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine, Surgical and Medical Research, and the direction of units of care and research in these scientific domains.


How many respondents do we need?


The goal was to get an overview of the population of patients presenting with this illness, and not a definitive study of all aspects and effects of this illness. The possibility of the existence of various classes of severity or variants of the illness was considered probabmy. Distinguishing them  would push towards a larger sample size. Applying statistical control to results would allow a smaller sample while still permitting distinguishing differences.  130 individual responses were targeted as a sample size for initial exploration. Many questionnaires presented today have more than 1,000 respondents. It was felt that the appropriate application of tools of statistical control, would make such a large sample size unnecessary, and thereby permit a more timely and useful evaluation of results.


How to do this?


Questionnaire structure was limited to allow contacting those with computers who could respond to a questionnaire placed online. To facilitate retrieval of answers and subsequent analysis, Survey Monkey was selected as an application and repository for data safekeeping. In addition a separate database was created to permit more detailed analysis and also used to write brief messages of thanks to participants who elected to furnished an email address.


Questionnaire response quality:


Each response to the questionnaire was judged for completeness, internal consistency of dates, and number of questions skipped. No question was structured to require an answer before continuing. It was felt that skipped questions and their frequency would also provide information. This proved to be true.


Questionnaire offered where


The questionnaire was initially offered to those contacted online as participants in groups self-identified as suffering "long-term" consequences of the novel coronavirus illness. Some will see this as a limitation, which it may be. But as a source of prelimnary learning, it seemed to have worked. Though many use computers and increasingly, online meeting places, the risk of excluding those who do not have access to such locations was not forgotten. Results will reflect one sample. There can be others and other formats. This is already being pursued simultaneously.


Open how long to responses?


Gathering responses until at least 130 had been obtained was not limited by time. It was thought that this should not be allowed to run much beyond 3 months to avoid possibly important changes in the sample characteristics and changes in health or treatments that were potentially time period dependent.



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