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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 1 What is the difference between research outcomes and clinical outcomes?

    What is the difference between research outcomes and clinical outcomes?

    Broadly, research outcomes are those that help assess the effectiveness of an intervention at a population level, while clinical outcomes help assess the effectiveness of an intervention for an individual patient. Some measures are designed for diagnostic purposes (e.g., Beck Depression Index) to help identify health problems in a clinical setting but may also be used to establish inclusion criteria in a research setting. Other measures are used almost exclusively to determine the effectiveness of an intervention in a research capacity (e.g., Profile of Mood States). Health care workers who are not involved in research should be aware of what these measures are so that they can interpret research findings for clinical relevance. Researchers should know the strengths, limitations and validity of tools used in their studies to ensure clinical relevance.

  2. 2 Where do I find information on cost-effectiveness and economic outcome measures?

    Where do I find information on cost-effectiveness and economic outcome measures?

    After consultation with health economists, we decided not to include a separate domain for economic measures. Instead, economic measures are currently located within the social and quality of life outcome domains. Given the importance of economic measures and for ease of location, we have indexed or highlighted measures that have been previously used in economic research. Often economic outcomes are straightforward and not abstract or complex such as quality of life or transformation. In that case economic statistics can be used rather than multi-item intruments.

  3. 3 Are outcome measures only for use in clinical trials?

    Are outcome measures only for use in clinical trials?

    Outcomes listed in the database are not only intended for intervention trials but may also be useful for observational study designs, such as the evaluation of an integrative clinic.

  4. 4 How do I choose the most appropriate measurement tools for my research?

    How do I choose the most appropriate measurement tools for my research?

    Validity and reliability are the most common criteria used to assess outcome measures; however, there are several other important criteria to consider such as relevance, participant burden, previous use in CAM research, cost and responsiveness. It is beyond the scope of the database to provide information on all criteria, but the user is urged to look for this information. A good resource is http://www.meb.uni-bonn.de/standards/ERGHO/ERGHO_Instruments.html and information on the Attributes of a Good Instrument page. Please also visit our Glossary pages.

  5. 5 Once I have located an outcome measure of interest in the Database, how do I obtain a copy of the measure?

    Once I have located an outcome measure of interest in the Database, how do I obtain a copy of the measure?

    Outcome measures are made available through various sources: in books, in a published article, by contacting the author and/or on a website. Due to copyright laws, we are unable to provide direct access to a number of the outcome measures included in the Database. For those that are free and available on-line, we provide the direct link. If it is not available for free, we direct you to the source of an outcome measure.

    For specific information on how to access an outcome measure, click on theExtended Details tab in the Database record and scroll to thehow to access information field.

  6. 6 If I have more questions about an outcome measure, whom should I ask?

    If I have more questions about an outcome measure, whom should I ask?

    Any questions you may have regarding an outcome measure can be addressed in one of several ways. You can post your question directly on the Discussion Board, which is accessible by all Database users. Specific questions about the outcome measure may, however, be best directed to the developer of the outcome measure. Contact information is usually provided within a publication describing the development of the outcome measure. We provide references for such publications in the Validity and Reliability References field of the Database record. Lastly, you can contact us at outcomes@ucalgary.ca. If we are unable to answer your question directly, we will do our best to direct you to the most appropriate individual(s).