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Virtual study methods: Considerations for aphasia (Doub et al., 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-21, 21:20 authored by Ashleigh Doub, Anne Hittson, Brielle C. Stark
Purpose: The use of technology (e.g., telehealth) in clinical settings has rapidly increased, and its use in research settings continues to grow. The aim of this report is to present one potential solution to a clinical issue that of virtual and remote assessment for the purposes of spoken language research in persons with aphasia (PWA). To do so, we report detailed methods for conducting a multitimepoint (test–retest) virtual paradigm, assessing lifestyle, physiological, cognitive, and linguistic factors in persons with and without aphasia.
Method: Procedures for virtual assessment are detailed in a sample of adults with no brain damage (N = 24) and PWA (N = 25) on a test–retest paradigm (data collection approximately 10 ± 3 days apart). This report provides practical information about pre-assessment (e.g., recruitment, scheduling), assessment (e.g., aphasia-friendly consent presentation, investigator fidelity), and postassessment (e.g., data storage, quality check) procedures for human behavior research using a virtual platform.
Results: Preliminary study data are provided, indicating high retention rates, high rates of data acquisition, and feasibility. Common technological troubles and solutions are discussed, and solutions are offered. The results suggest that our pre-assessment, assessment, and postassessment procedures contributed to the success of our study.
Conclusions: We provide a practical methodology for conducting a multitimepoint study, with considerations for PWA, adding to the body of research on telehealth in clinical populations. Future studies should continue to evaluate telemethodology, which may be core for diversifying studies, improving study retention, and enrolling larger sample sizes.

Supplemental Material S1. Study procedure document.

Supplemental Material S2. Check-in form (before session) example for aphasia group.

Supplemental Material S3. Example of informed consent visuals used to ensure comprehension of study procedures for aphasia group.

Supplemental Material S4. Recruitment flyer.

Supplemental Material S5. Ideal environment checklist.

Doub, A., Hittson, A., & Stark, B. C. (2021). Conducting a virtual study with special considerations for working with persons with aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


This work was funded by the American Speech-Language- Hearing Foundation New Investigator Grant awarded to B. C. Stark.