A training programme for COMGAP-S research assistants was delivered in Jaffna, Sri Lanka in February 2016. Key members of the research team experienced in epidemiology, mental health and research methodology taught on the programme.
The first phase of COMGAP-S will be completion of a cross-sectional survey with adults attending primary care clinics. This information will be used to assess prevalence and burden of mental health in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Research assistants were trained over seven days on how to conduct the survey.
In February 2016 six research assistants completed a seven day training programme introducing them to the world of research and data collection.
The training programme consisted of lectures, review of the research assistant handbook, and role play practice. Lectures were given on principles of mental health, research methodology, ethics of research and informed consent. Role play centred on how to approach participants and collect data using a computer tablet.
Data for the survey will be collected using an innovative digital application to minimize paper consumption.
At the end of the training programme research assistants were assessed on their knowledge of research methods. They were also evaluated on interview procedures. Over the seven days all participants gained valuable skills and new friendships. They can now use these new skills and a novel approach to digital data collection to begin the first phase of COMGAP-S.