Selection and Training of Team Members

As discussed in other chapters of this book (e.g., Chapters 5 and 22), the selection and training of team members is an important aspect of behavioral intervention research. Staffing considerations include the number of staff members, skill, educational and certification requirements, and allocation of functions and responsibilities. Staffing decisions clearly depend on the scope of the project and, of course, the budget. It is a good idea to conduct a task analysis of the intervention (Chapter 3) and planned study design to identify staffing needs (see also Chapter 5). Another important issue is ensuring that the roles and responsibilities of all of the team members are clearly specified and communicated within the team (discussed as well in Chapter 22). This information should be included in the MOP

Protocols must also be developed for staff training and certification, and these protocols should all be included in the MOP (see Figure 6.2). All members of the study team should understand the goals of the study and be trained in all aspects of the protocol, including the protocols for both the intervention and comparison conditions. Staff members must also understand the importance of adhering to the study protocol (e.g., delivery of the intervention) for all treatment conditions. Training should also be provided on the topical domain of the intervention (e.g., family caregiving) and on strategies for interacting with study participants. Other important training topics include staff safety protocols, resolution protocols for adverse events, ethical conduct of research and confidentiality, and data handling. Finally, one-time training is rarely sufficient—we highly recommend booster training on a scheduled basis. All of these aspects are important aspects of standardizing study procedures.

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