Qualitative, Survey and Measurement

The Qualitative, Survey and Measurement (QSM) core, led by Drs. Lenora Olson and Susan Zickmund, supports a broad spectrum of research by providing expert guidance on measurement of outcomes and the design and implementation of surveys. The core’s services range from expertise in the identification and/or adaption of existing measures to the design, validation, and application of new measures, including pre-testing, pilot testing and initial validation. The core staff has extensive expertise in patient reported outcomes (PROs), including the application of item response theory to evaluate the performance of PROs and other instruments as well as experience in the development and application of computer adaptive tests (CATs).

In the area of survey methods, the QSM core provides comprehensive consulting services using evidence-based best practice knowledge for every step of the survey design and implementation process.  Our staff can provide guidance on data collection protocols, including participant recruitment and implementation approaches. Our staff can also guide the selection of best methods for improving data quality and maximizing response rates, as well as approaches to compiling and managing survey data. QSM is also available to assist in writing study design/methods sections of grant proposals and manuscripts.


QSM can provide guidance for the following:

  • Selection of measures to use, including existing/validated instruments or development of new measures
  • New measurement design
  • Qualitative methods related to measurement design, including cognitive interviews and focus groups
  • Support for psychometric analyses and item response theory
  • Data collection protocols, contact methods, and survey implementation strategies, including selecting survey mode(s), improving response rates, and maximizing data quality
  • Question ordering
  • Visual design of survey questionnaires
  • Interviewer training for telephone and in-­person surveys
  • Compiling and managing measurement/survey data, and data dictionary development
  • Data collection protocols for observational studies
  • Ethnographic methods
  • Needs assessment
  • Usability analysis
  • Text describing recruitment, measures, and data collection in grant applications
  • Text describing recruitment, measures, and data collection in IRB applications and manuscripts