Selecting Appropriate Measures for a Particular Study

In order to conduct research to understand and reduce/eliminate health disparities, investigators need to select measures that adequately reflect the concepts being studied, i.e., determinants, mechanisms, and outcomes. This task is distinct from that of developing new measures, which requires expertise in measurement science. We provide several “self-directed” resources for locating, reviewing, and selecting appropriate measures for use in a particular study.

  • “Understanding and choosing self-report measures” – 2 seminars
  • “Measurement in clinical research” –UCSF course by Analysis Core faculty
  • Structured template for reviewing measures
  • Sources of existing measures

Understanding and Choosing Self-report Measures

Two-part seminar presented by Dr. Stewart. Part one covers the importance of concepts (latent variables) and how they are defined by the measure chosen as well as how to locate measures for one’s own research. Part two reviews a structured template for reviewing characteristics of a potential measure (e.g., appropriateness for study sample, conceptual and psychometric adequacy, practical issues).

Download Slides: Part 1    Part 2

Locating Measures

In conducting research in health disparities, locating published measures of health and determinants of health can be a challenge. We provide two types of resources: compendia and “other” sources.

Compendia: We have developed a list of books (and websites) that have compiled and reviewed measures used in health research. These sources provide information on conceptual and psychometric properties of the measures.


Download Measures Compilations and Reviews

Other Sources of Measures Including Hyperlinks: We provide a 5-page list of a variety of sources of specific measures. Sources include organizations and research centers, government agencies, national and state surveys, large research studies, and measures reviews. For each source, we summarize what types of measures are available. Hyperlinks facilitate searching all of these sources.

Download Other Sources of Measures

“Measurement in Clinical Research” Course Materials

Materials are available from a UCSF course “Measurement in Clinical Research” formerly taught by Drs. Anita Stewart and Steve Gregorich. Materials include a syllabus, PowerPoint slides, readings, and handouts. The materials can be used or adapted for presentations on measurement issues, and can help those interested in a particular measurement topic. The course covers the following topics

  • Concept development
  • Measurement terminology
  • Methods of developing new measures
  • How to select measures for your study
  • Psychometric characteristics (variability, reliability, validity, sensitivity to change)
  • Factor analysis
  • Measurement issues in diverse populations
  • Pretesting measures
  • Considerations in modifying measures
  • Testing measures in your own samples.

Download Course Materials

Structured Template for Reviewing Measures

We created a unique tool for reviewing possible measures for a particular study. The template begins with a definition of the concept as defined by the investigator. The review criteria focus on appropriateness for a specific population group and study context, i.e., the focus is on whether a measure “matches” the defined concept and is appropriate for the specific population group. Review criteria include:

  • Get to know the measure (measurement model, items, response choices)
  • Conceptual adequacy for your sample (concept matches your definition, is appropriate for specific population)
  • Psychometric adequacy for your sample (variability, reliability, validity in specific population)
  • Appropriateness for your sample (applications in similar populations, cultural appropriateness, translations, reading level)
  • Practical issues (cost, scoring manual, burden, method of administration)

Download Structured Template for Reviewing Measures