Health services research incorporates an impressively broad spectrum of research topics, and VA health services researchers are faced with the theoretical and methodological challenges in measuring the broad range of variables integral to health services research. In response, researchers have been developing numerous generic and disease-specific measurement tools and psychometricians have been expanding their application of traditional psychometric methods and increasing their repertoire of measurement techniques. Unfortunately, the development and adoption of new instruments and psychometric techniques has not been accompanied by a systematic organization of information on these instruments and methods. More importantly, there exists no efficient way for health services researchers to access up-to-date measurement instruments and method information. The establishment of a website with resources and educational information is of utmost importance to ensure that the efforts of VA researchers are informed by the most recent information regarding measurement instruments and psychometric methods.
The Measurement Excellence Initiative (MEI) is charged by the VA Health Services Research and Development Service to serve as a resource for improving the overall quality of measurement in the health services research community.
MEI has developed an Internet web site (http://www.measurementexperts.org/): 1) to disseminate information about existing instruments and their applications and to assist in development of new measures when they are needed; 2) to educate researchers in all phases of measurement methodology; 3) to facilitate the sharing of measurement knowledge; and 4) to advance measurement science through research.
By systematically searching the Internet, the library, and book publishing companies, MEI members have found 26 electronic sites that have measurement instruments and various amounts of psychometric information about the instruments. MEI members created criteria for evaluating the sites and have completed the application of the criteria to 24 of the 26 sites. MEI hired TotalNetControl, a web development company in Houston, to create the large MEI Internet site.
VA headquarters encouraged the project investigators to expand this project into a resource center so on July 1, 2003 headquarters provided core funding for the Measurement Excellence and Training Resource Information Center (METRIC).
By facilitating researchers’ searches of existing compendiums, refining criteria for evaluating instruments to be used for VA research, organizing a compendium of VA-relevant instruments, and providing educational resources for refining and developing instruments, XPERTs will reduce duplication of VA researchers’ efforts, simplify instrument selection, and encourage excellence in measurement of health services research constructs.
- O'Malley KJ, Moran BJ, Haidet P, Seidel CL, Schneider V, Morgan RO, Kelly PA, Richards B. Validation of an observation instrument for measuring student engagement in health professions settings. Evaluation & the health professions. 2003 Mar 1; 26(1):86-103.
- O'Malley KJ, Orengo CA, Kunik ME, Snow L, Molinari V. Measuring aggression in older adults: a latent variable modeling approach. Aging & mental health. 2002 Aug 1; 6(3):231-8.
- O'Malley K, Snow AL, Ford ME. Integrating a conceptual model throughout your grant proposal: From hypotheses to impact statements. Paper presented at: VA HSR&D National Meeting; 2003 Feb 1; Washington, DC.
- Morgan RO, Duque M, DeVito CA. Using the SF-36 physical function subscale to screen for falls-risk in a clinically defined sample of at-risk elders. Paper presented at: Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting; 2002 Nov 1; Boston, MA.