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Made to Measure? A critical discussion of questionnaire measures in Health Psychology Seminar

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16:30 - 17:30
10 October 2011
Psychology, Room 3095, Shackleton Building (Building 44), University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Allyson Marchi on 02380 59 9036 or email .

Event details

The practice of health psychology is underpinned by a substantial research base. A core component of the empirical content of this research base is data derived from questionnaire measures, predominantly developed using the 'Classical' measurement model. This model is increasingly used in health services research with the recent adoption of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) as measures of patient outcome in their own right.

In this presentation I will take a critical look at how questionnaire measures are used in practice, and will argue that measurement in general, and the Classical measurement model in particular, seem poorly understood by researchers and practitioners in health psychology. Examples will be given of misunderstanding of basic concepts such as reliability and the identification of 'constructs' using factor analysis, measurement error and dimensionality of scales, with implications for theory development and measurement in practice. Alternative models, such as item-response theory, will also be critically examined in the context of claims that they solve some fundamental problems with the Classical model. Finally an attempt will be made to reconcile some of the philosophical issues of measurement in psychology with practical methodological solutions.

CAHP webpage

Speaker information

Matthew Hankins,Health Sciences, University of Southampton

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