JMIR Formative Research
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
- define and understand populations in need of a intervention or public health program
- create programs that are specific to the needs of those populations
- ensure programs are acceptable and feasible to user before launching
- improve the relationship between users and agencies/research groups
- demonstrate the feasibility, use, satisfaction with, or problems with a program before large-scale summative evaluation (looking at heatlh outcomes)
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.
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