ORIGINAL PAPER

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 34, Issue 8, pp 399-409

Selecting, developing, and evaluating research instruments

  • G. E. SwitzerAffiliated withDepartments of Medicine and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA Tel.: +1-412-624 2520, Fax: +1-412-383 1755
  • , S. R. WisniewskiAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • , S. H. BelleAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • , M. A. DewAffiliated withDepartments of Psychiatry, Epidemiology, and Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • , R. SchultzAffiliated withDepartments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Sociology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to provide researchers who are not experts in psychometric theory with a concise guide to instrument selection, development and evaluation. Issues of context – factors related to the setting or population in which an instrument will be used – and psychometrics – the functioning of an instrument within a given context – are reviewed and discussed. Finally, four categories or types of instruments, and the psychometric analyses that are necessary for establishing the reliability and validity of each type, are described.