Quality of Life Research

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 871–881 | Cite as

Seeking the Patient's Perspective: A Qualitative Assessment of EuroQol, COOP-WONCA Charts and MYMOP

  • Charlotte Paterson


An outcome questionnaire that is patient-centred should encompass the aims, values and treatment effects that are prioritised by individuals, and should enable each individual to provide an unambiguous assessment of change over time. There is little evidence about how well outcome questionnaires perform in this regard. This paper describes how interviews that combined in-depth enquiry and cognitive techniques were used to explore patients' experiences of completing three outcome questionnaires over a 6 month period. The 23 interviewees all had chronic disease and were receiving acupuncture treatment for the first time. Many of the problems uncovered by this study can be ameliorated by attention to questionnaire design. For example, by the provision of at least five response options, by being explicit about including co-morbidity, and by measuring medication change as a separate outcome. The study also highlighted more fundamental conceptual difficulties, such as response shift and the respondent's conflict between scoring external function and internal distress (what they did, vs. what they felt). These issues relate to the co-existence of different perspectives and the impossibility of reducing health status to one ‘single truth’. The study concludes that qualitative evaluations have an important role to play in questionnaire design and development and are likely to lead to more modest and realistic appraisals of outcome questionnaire performance.

Acupuncture Evaluation studies Health status indicators Interview Reproducibility of results 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Paterson
    • 1
  1. 1.MRC Health Services Research Collaboration, Department of Social MedicineUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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