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Piloting Your Training Manual

Posted on December 4, 2007

Jay Belsky (bio) describes how the NICHD Study of Early Child Care standardized training of research staff.


When it comes to training, we did a variety of different things. What we typically did was we sent people a manual, and we said, “Okay, read the manual, go out and try to implement it and send us back,” whoever the team was that put that manual together, "send back questions, stumbling blocks, issues where we weren’t explicit enough, problems that arose." And then the manual got refined based upon that piloting. Then people were given typically examinations, assessments often by video tape.

So if they were coders they would watch video tapes and have to code them after being trained to code them. If they were data collectors they often had to video tape their data collection. That video tape protocol was then shipped to a master coder who then judged them. Even that judgment had to be systematic. We actually had grading forms. Did they do this? Did they do that? Did they do this? Did they do that? Because that way it was easier to evaluate 10 people than to give them back vague feedback. So much of it becomes making everything as explicit as you can.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2007 SRCD Biennial Meeting in Boston, MA. .


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