Reporting on reliability and validity of outcome measures in medical rehabilitation research
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PURPOSE: To evaluate the degree to which published medical rehabilitation research offers evidence of reliability, validity and other clinimetric qualities of the data reported. METHOD: Descriptive study of published intervention research papers published in six US medical rehabilitation journals in 1997 and 1998. Selected characteristics of the papers and the outcome measures used were abstracted by one or two raters. RESULTS: The 171 papers identified included 651 outcome measures. Some type of data reliability information was provided for 20.1% of these measures; for validity, this was 6.9%. However, this information was based on data collected for the sample studied for only 7.7% (reliability) and 0.6% (validity). CONCLUSIONS: Most rehabilitation research falls short of standards, including the Standards promulgated by an American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Advisory Group. Authors, peer reviewers and editors need to change their practices to improve this situation.
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