BACKGROUND: It is often recommended that behaviour-change interventions be tailored to barriers. There is a scarcity of research into the best method of barrier identification, although combining methods has been suggested to be beneficial. This paper compares the feasibility and costs of three different methods of barrier identification used in three implementation projects conducted in primary care.
METHODS: Underpinned by a theory-base, project one used a questionnaire and interviews; project two used a single focus group and questionnaire, and project three used a literature review of published barriers. The feasibility of each project, as experienced by the research team, and labour costs are summarised.
RESULTS: The literature review of published barriers was the least costly and most feasible method, being quick to conduct and avoiding the challenges of recruitment experienced when using interviews or a questionnaire. The feasibility of using questionnaires was further reduced by the time taken to develop the instruments. Conducting a single focus group was also found to be a more feasible method, taking less time than interviews to collect and analyse the barriers.
CONCLUSIONS: Considering the ease of recruitment, time required and cost of the different methods to collect barriers is crucial at the start of implementation studies. The literature review method is the least costly and most feasible method. Use of a single focus group was found to be more feasible than conducting individual interviews or administering a questionnaire, with less recruitment challenges experienced, and quicker data collection. Future research would benefit from comparing the robustness of the methods in terms of the comprehensiveness of barriers identified.