Measurement in Nursing and Health Research

Measurement in Nursing and Health Research

Measurement in Nursing and Health Research

Measurement in Nursing and Health Research


"This is a new edition of a classic text on the "how to's" of measurement. Basic principles and terminology are covered along with practical information on how to design and implement measurement instruments in nursing and health care. The book is for nurses in a variety of roles, including student, educator, clinician, researcher, administrator, and consultant. New to this edition is more information on qualitative data collection, physiologic measures, and nonclassical measurement approaches." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


As noted in chapter 1, the two major frameworks for measurement are the norm–referenced and criterion–referenced approaches. This chapter focuses on the design and interpretation of each of these types of measures. Normreferenced measures are employed when the interest is in evaluating a subject' performance relative to the performance of other subjects in some well–defined comparison group. How well a subject' performance compares with the performance of other subjects is irrelevant when a criterion–referenced approach is used. Criterion–referenced measures are employed when the interest is in determining a subject' performance relative to a predetermined set of target behaviors. For this reason, different strategies are used when designing norm–referenced and criterion–referenced measures.


Essential steps in the design of a norm–referenced measure are (1) selection of a conceptual model for delineating the nursing or health care aspects of the measurement process; (2) explication of objectives for the measure; (3) development of a blueprint; and (4) construction of the measure, including administration procedures, an item set, and scoring rules and procedures. Since selection of a conceptual model is addressed in chapters 1 and 2, the focus here will be on steps 2 through 4.

Explicating Objectives

The first step in the design of any measure is to clarify the purposes for the measurement When a conceptual model serves as a basis for the tool' development, this step is more easily undertaken than when it does not. For example, suppose an investigator is interested in assessing a geriatric patient' ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) upon admission to an assisted living facility. Using self–care theory, activities of daily living are conceptually defined as the patient' capacity to perform various physical (body care) tasks that permit the individual to provide self–care on a daily basis. Further, it is assumed that (1) body care tasks essential in everyday life are related to eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, transfer, walking, and communication; (2) the concept of self–care is not an absolute state but a continuum of ability levels that vary in the frequency with which the help of others is needed; and (3) the geriatric patient' level of ability in performing certain activities of daily living may differ from the same individual' level of ability in performing other activities.

On the basis of this conceptual definition of ADL self care, the investigator is directed to operationalize ADL self–care in the following manner: (1) use a performance–objective type of measure, most appropriately, observation; (2) include in the measure multiple items reflecting salient characteristics or conditions related to each of the identified body care activities essential in every day life; and (3) provide a . . .

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