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Medicine LibreTexts

16: Field organization and ensuring data of high quality

  • Page ID
    • 16.1: Introduction to field organization and ensuring data of high quality
      The complexity of the organization of a field trial will vary, according to the planned size of the trial population, the frequency of follow-up, the expected duration of the trial, and its location.
    • 16.2: Manual of field operations and study diary
      The tasks and procedures necessary to achieve each objective of a trial should be listed. A manual of field operations should be prepared, in which each procedure to be carried out is detailed and each task described fully (for example, step-by-step instructions for the administration and completion of questionnaires, the method to be used for weighing infants, including maintenance procedures for the weighing scales, checklists for equipment, and the materials required for each procedure).
    • 16.3: Personnel issues
      ield trials may involve a large number of personnel, often for considerable periods, working under difficult conditions, and the staffing arrangements must be well organized. Each person should know what they have to do and when they have to do it, to whom they should report, and when, where, and how they should do this.
    • 16.4: Physical location and facilities
      An issue to be resolved early in the planning of a field trial is whether the study participants should be seen at a central location, at a series of local assembly points, or be visited on a house-to-house basis. The decision will depend upon the procedures to be carried out, the nature of equipment required, the time the study procedures take, the population size, density, and distribution, and the environmental and physical conditions.
    • 16.5: Equipment and supplies
      The major items of equipment and reagents required must be specified in the study protocol. The choice of what technical equipment to buy should be influenced by what the investigators or others in the field have used and whether it has been found to produce valid results and is reliable in the specific field contexts required (and this will include servicing arrangements).
    • 16.6:Timetable for field activities
      An organizational timetable should be constructed which shows all of the field activities and indicates when each will be undertaken. An example of such a timetable, for a trial of the effect of regular vitamin A supplementation on episodes of diarrhoea and respiratory infections, is shown in Figure 16.1 (Betty Kirkwood, personal communication). The dates for fieldwork may have to be fixed some time in advance.
    • 16.7: Ensuring data of high quality
      To be able to derive reliable and accurate conclusions from a health intervention trial, it is important to ensure that all processes and procedures, at all stages in the conduct of the trial, are performed at high quality.
    • 16.8: References