OCTO has a contract with Perigean Technologies to help us recruit, screen, gather consent forms, and schedule research sessions with Veterans. To start recruiting participants for your study, refer to the research checklist.

Remote moderated studies

If you need to recruit Veterans, service members, caregivers, or dependents for a remote moderated study, Perigean can help with that. Recruiting for remote moderated sessions will take one week after your study is approved in the Research Review touchpoint. Also, know that some studies might take longer to find participants if you are looking for a very niche population.

If you need to recruit VA staff, internal teams, or audiences not identified above, OCTO does not have a contract for that. Work with your stakeholders and product leads to identify and recruit these audiences.

Services offered by Perigean

Scheduling

Provide Perigean with times that are good for you and your team, they will schedule the sessions. A general rule of thumb is to provide 2x available time slots for the number of research sessions you desire.

To ensure you get the number of participants you’re looking for, state your desired number and ask for ~25% more people than you need. This buffer will help account for no-shows. If the no-show rate is higher than expected, Perigean will continue to recruit and schedule until your desired number is reached. In some cases, your study may need to extend by a day or two to accommodate.

Notes

Perigean can take notes for your studies. Please indicate in your research plan if you need assistance with notes. This should be a fallback to having members of your team take notes.

  • You will need to provide your conversation guide when you request research to have notes taken.

  • Perigean will send the notes via slack. It's the lead researcher's responsibility to collect the notes, conduct synthesis, and strip out ALL personally identifiable information (PII) and personal health information (PHI) before posting to GitHub or sharing.

Tools

You have three options for technology for remote studies. Perigean holds the accounts for each of these. You will use Perigean's accounts, not your own, and they will provide login details for each.

  • Zoom: This is the most accessible tool for users of assistive devices.

  • GoToMeeting: This tool is hard for participants to install but works well for handing mouse control to a user for a prototype usability test.

  • Webex: Teams building on VA.gov sometimes prefer Webex because it is an approved tool for their teams.

Please indicate in your research plan which tool you would prefer to use. We recommend setting up a practice session so you are already familiar with logging into Perigean's tools, practicing handoffs, and practicing your conversation guide before your first session.

Remote unmoderated studies

If you need to recruit Veterans, service members, caregivers, or dependents for a remote unmoderated study like a card sort, tree test, chalkmark, or other tests (NO SURVEYS or QUESTIONNAIRES allowed due to PRA), Perigean can help with that, after you complete the Research Review touchpoint.

Learn more about planning unmoderated studies.

In-person moderated studies

If you need to recruit Veterans, service members, caregivers, or dependents for an in-person moderated study, Perigean can help with that, but the in-person sessions must be conducted in Washington, D.C. The lead researcher is responsible for identifying and securing a location and communicating that location back to Perigean. In the past, teams have used contractors' offices, public library spaces, and WeWork. We do not recommend running sessions in coffee shops or other public restaurants if you plan to discuss a participant's PII or PHI. While you may use DSVA space for sessions, you need to make sure that you can get participants through security. This will add additional time to your sessions and may cause your participant to feel uncomfortable.
Review further guidance for Planning in-person research and Planning On-site Research with Veterans at VA Medical Facilities

Recruiting for in-person moderated sessions will take two weeks.

Inclusive research

We want to make sure all users are represented in our research. The VA Recruitment Checker is a tool to help us keep track of who we've talked to.

This is a team effort, not an assessment of your skill. This checker will not be used in any way to judge anyone's ability as a researcher. It's meant to be used as a tool towards creating a more mature and aware inclusive research practice. We're committed to making VA services inclusive of underserved Veterans, and documentation is the first step towards that goal.

Why check on underserved Veterans in research?

  1. It keeps us honest and transparent about if our research includes underserved populations.

  2. It helps us determine who we should conduct research with next

  3. It prevents one size fits all thinking. E.g., if we didn't talk to Assistive Tech (AT) users, we can't be confident our research findings will apply to them.

Learn more about inclusive research strategies.

Referrals for research

If you meet a Veteran, caregiver, service member, or dependent who would be interested in participating in research, refer them to https://veteranusability.us/ .