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JMIR Formative Research (JFR) (a sister journal of J Med Internet Res (JMIR) and JMIR mHealth & uHealth, the leading eHealth and mHealth journals by impact factor) publishes peer-reviewed, openly accessible papers containing results from process evaluations, feasibility/pilot studies and other kinds of formative research. While the original focus was on the design of medical and health-related research and technology innovations, JFR publishes studies from all areas of medical and health research.
Formative research is research that occurs before a program is designed and implemented, or while a program is being conducted. Formative research can help
Many funding agencies will expect some sort of pilot/feasibility/process evaluation before funding a larger study such as a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT).
Formative research should be an integral part of developing programs or adapting programs, and should be used while the program is on-going to help refine and improve program activities. Thus, formative evaluation can and should also occur in form of a process evaluation alongside a summative evaluation such as a RCT.
This journal fills an important gap in the STEM journals landscape, as it publshes sound and peer-reviewed formative research that is criticial for investigators to apply for further funding, but that is usually not published in outcomes-focussed medical journals.
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Background: Approximately 10% of adolescents in the United States have asthma. Adolescents widely use applications (apps) on mobile phones and tablet technology for social networking and gaming purpos...
Background: Approximately 10% of adolescents in the United States have asthma. Adolescents widely use applications (apps) on mobile phones and tablet technology for social networking and gaming purposes. Given the increase in recreational app use among adolescents, leveraging apps to support adolescent asthma disease management seems warranted. However, little empirical research has influenced asthma app development; adolescent users are seldom involved in the app design process, including identifying components that meet their needs. Objective: The aim of this mixed-methods study was to assess adolescent preferences and design recommendations for an asthma self-management app. Methods: Twenty adolescents with persistent asthma (aged 12-16) provided feedback on two asthma self-management apps during in person semi-structured interviews following their regularly scheduled asthma clinic visit and via telephone 1-week later. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using SPSS v24 and coded thematically using MAXQDA 11. Results: Regarding aesthetics, app layout and perceived visual simplicity were important to facilitate initial app use. Adolescents were more likely to continually engage with apps that were deemed useful and met their informational needs. Adolescents also desired app features that fit within their existing paradigm/schema and included familiar components (e.g. medication alerts that appear and sound like Facetime notifications and games modeled after Quiz Up and Minecraft) as well as the ability to customize app components. They also suggested that apps include other features such as an air quality tracker and voice command. Conclusions: Involving adolescents in the early stages of app development is likely to result in an asthma app that meets their self-management needs and design preferences. This may lead to increased user engagement and ultimately the adoption and maintenance of positive asthma self-management behaviors.
Background: Childhood obesity is a serious public health issue among minority youth in the United States. Technology-enhanced approaches can be effective for promoting healthy behavior change. Objecti...
Background: Childhood obesity is a serious public health issue among minority youth in the United States. Technology-enhanced approaches can be effective for promoting healthy behavior change. Objective: The purpose of this study was to test the usability of prototypes of a web-based interactive tool promoting healthy dietary behaviors to reduce childhood obesity risk in urban minority youth. Methods: African-American (AA)/Black and Latino children ages 9 to 13 were recruited to participate in two rounds of usability testing. A modified think-aloud method was utilized. Self-reported surveys and field notes were collected. Sessions were audio recorded and systematically reviewed to identify usability issues and areas for improvement. Results: Twelve children, with a mean age of 10.92 ±1.16 years (33.3% female; 66.7% AA/Black) participated. Testing highlighted overall positive experiences with the web-based interactive tool, especially related to storyline, sound effects, and color schemes. Specific usability issues were classified into six themes: appearance, content, special effects, storyline, terminology and navigation. Changes to the web-based tool after Round 1 included adding a navigation guide, making clickable icons more visible, improving graphic designs and fixing programming errors. In Round 2 of testing, the specific usability issues related to the modifications decreased. Conclusions: Preliminary findings of prototypes suggest that the use of this web-based tool could be an engaging approach to promote healthy eating behaviors among minority youth. Results of testing will inform further development and finalization of the tool, which will be tested using a two-group pilot randomized study, with the goal of reducing childhood obesity risk in minority, low-income youth.