Problem Solving Protocols

Using Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) within research – clinical, laboratory and other research – undoubtedly leads to increased uniformity of method and consequent reproducibility of results. Although not essential, it is commonly recognised that the person who carries out the procedure is the best person to write a standard operating procedure. It is, however, essential that the individuals having to perform the procedure are satisfied that it works all the time or almost all the time.

PROBLEMS:

However, there will always be new and unforeseen problems that will occur, which will highlight a weakness in a standard operating procedure.

SOLUTION: This indicates that the standard operating system needs to be adjusted and revised as soon as possible. It is not a major problem. But suppose the standard operating procedure cannot be changed immediately. In that case, the details of the problem should be recorded so that the appropriate changes can be made at the next review.

In addition, standard operating procedures can become outdated without the research staff becoming immediately aware of the problem.

SOLUTION: Regular review of standard operating procedures are recommended,
and an annual review is considered acceptable.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

Conducting regular refresher training on SOPs is always useful, particularly for longitudinal
studies/trials.

BY YOLISWA NTSEPE (MA, PhD)
ADOLESCENT PROGRAMMES MANAGER

UPDATED NOV 22, 2023

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