Instrument selection, design, and pre-testing

Instrument selection

Using a previously validated instrument, if one is available, is almost always preferable to designing a new one. Numerous validated instruments are available for measuring constructs relevant to population science and clinical research. SDMC staff are knowledgeable about the validity and psychometric properties of currently available instruments and maintain a library of validated instruments and supporting data. We can work with you to choose the right instruments for your study purposes.

Instrument design

Core staff are knowledgeable about the latest research in instrument design and have years of experience constructing quantitative and qualitative survey instruments that yield valid and reliable data. Staff can also help develop new survey items and scales or adapt existing items to novel contexts and populations.


Using cognitive interviewing techniques to ensure accuracy, clarity, and user-friendliness of questions and of response options, the Core assists investigators in pre-testing and refining new instruments or existing instruments that investigators propose to use in novel contexts and populations.

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