What is field testing?
Field testing ensures health materials are vetted by those who will eventually use them. When materials are field tested, the resulting product is more likely to be understandable and actionable for the reader.
We often conduct field testing as part of an iterative materials development or editing process. We hold field testing sessions:
- During content development to gather data on the needs and preferences of the end user.
- After we edit or draft materials, to measure users’ ability to read, understand, and act upon the information. Often, multiple sessions are held, with user feedback incorporated between sessions.
How does UAMS CHL field test health materials?
Through focus groups, we engage patients, consumers, and community representatives in an interactive process to verify that materials are well understood and usable. We work with clients to craft discussion guides that meet their needs and get the right information from participants.
A unique aspect of our process is that we include participants who are more likely to struggle to understand the materials. We also use an innovative “stoplight coding” technique to prompt participants to openly share and discuss thoughts, feelings, and perspectives with others in the group. Our faculty developed and published this technique to ensure our methods are effective in eliciting participation from audiences who are often considered hard to reach.
After field testing, we provide each client with a summary report which includes:
- Demographics of focus group participants
- Key themes related to needed improvements in the document
- A final version of the document with focus group recommendations incorporated
Why choose UAMS CHL to field test my health-related materials?
Getting feedback on written health information balances our expertise with real world perspectives. Learning from focus group participants about how they perceive, understand, and use health information helps us improve:
Field testing contributes to evidence-based approaches and best practices for developing user-centered materials.
Field testing is available for both English and Spanish language texts.
Who do I call to discuss my project?
“As an organization whose mission is to empower individuals with food allergies to care for themselves, it is critical to engage those individuals in reviewing educational materials. Toward our desire to ensure equitable access to our materials, we engaged the Center for Health Literacy at UAMS. They formally tested our educational materials to ensure they met the needs of people who are more likely to struggle with health information. What we learned from these sessions was immeasurable, and we have since made significant updates to our materials. This was a tremendous step forward for us in terms of equitable empowerment.”Marie Malloy
Senior Director of Health Equity and Community Engagement
FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education)
“The Center for Health Literacy took our falls prevention patient and family education materials to the next level. As with most public health priorities, patient behavior is critical to success. The team at CHL brought the right mix of consumers to their field testing session and elicited incredible ideas we never would’ve come up with on our own. Our improved materials address key components of behavior change theory and are appealing to the patients and caregivers we aim to engage in the health systems we serve across the country.”Erin Bush, PhD(c), RNC-MNN
Director of Clinical Operations