Critical appraisal and selection of data collection instruments: A step-by-step guide

Kathleen N. Dunemn, Carol J. Roehrs, Vicki L. Wilson


It is essential that nurse researchers use the most precise and valid data collection instruments available to obtain trustworthy data when conducting research in education and practice.  Today, there is a vast selection of existing quantitative data collection instruments from which to choose.  Existing instruments can be located through reports of their use in the literature and at conferences, through internet searches and by word of mouth.  Once the nurse researcher locates a potential data collection instrument for a given study, the instrument must be systematically appraised for use in that study.  This article introduces a comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide that will enable users to quickly and thoughtfully appraise quantitative measurement instruments.  The results from the use of this critical appraisal guide will assist researchers to objectively discuss, compare and make informed decisions before adopting a specific data collection instrument for use in a research study.  The underlying principles of the Step-by-Step Guide for the Critical Appraisal and Selection of Data Collection Instruments are based on the tenets of measurement theory, literature, and experience of the authors in education and practice research.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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