Background: self-reported occupational histories are an important means for collecting historical data in epidemiological studies. An occupational history calendar (OHC) has been developed for use alongside a national occupational hazard surveillance tool. This study presents the systematic development of the OHC and compares work histories collected via this calendar to those collected via a traditional questionnaire.
Methods: the paper describes the systematic development of an OHC for use in the general working population. A comparison of data quality and recall was undertaken in 51 participants where both tools were administered.
Results: the OHC enhanced job recall compared with the traditional questionnaire. Good agreement in the data captured by both tools was observed, with the exception of hazard exposures.
Conclusions: a calendar approach is suitable for collecting occupational histories from the general working population. Despite enhancing job recall the OHC approach has some shortcomings outweighing this advantage in large-scale population surveillance.
2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.