Assessing the Tools
The team of reviewers who assessed each tool consisted of clinicians and scientists who have long established expertise in a wide variety of relevant research areas. Combining their knowledge of SCI with the data on the properties of the outcome tools, allowed us to generate the summaries for this chapter.
Countless numbers of books and manuscripts have been written classifying and discussing psychometric principles and standards for the selection or validation of clinical tools. It is not our intent to replicate this process, but instead refer the reader to a couple of key dispositions such as Streiner and Norman’s Health Measurement Scales (2003) and Portney and Watkin’s chapters (4, 5 and 6) on reliability and validity (2000). For an excellent overview that provides insightful tips for selecting tools directly related to rehabilitation, read Finch and colleagues Physical Rehabilitation Outcome Measures (1999).
Data was extracted from manuscripts reporting findings about the psychometric properties and several “pragmatic” factors for each of the various tools. In accordance with similar projects designed to review outcome measures (Salter et al. 2005) we relied heavily on the work by Fitzpatrick and colleagues (1998) for the methods and standards related to data extraction. Our evaluation criteria as well as the standard for quantifying the rating where possible are presented in Table 3. For an example of the data extraction forms used for the project see Appendix 1 on page 8.