Qualitative, Survey and Measurement

Qualitative, Survey and Measurement (QSM) Core

The Qualitative, Survey and Measurement Core (QSM) is led by Drs. Susan Zickmund and Lenora Olson. The core staff provides expert guidance on qualitative methods and analysis, survey design and implementation, psychometrics, as well as general consultation on measurement methods. In addition, QSM faculty are available to serve as co-investigators and aid in writing methodological sections of grant proposals and scientific manuscripts across all areas. Please see below for specific services for the Core.  Please note we can provide seamless service from qualitative to quantitative methods as well as the corresponding analyses for many projects.


We provide a full range of qualitative and mixed methods services. These include methodological design, grant and article writing, interview/ focus group data collection, and ethnographic expertise for observational studies. We also provide transcription services for clients we are working with on qualitative projects. Analytically, we have extensive experience developing codebooks, coding, and intercoder reliability assessment.  We are available to provide the following:

  • PhD qualitative consultation on study design and grantsmanship support
  • Script development
  • Interview data collection
  • Focus group script creation, moderation and notetaking
  • Ethnographic approaches to observational data collection
  • Verbatim transcription services
  • Codebook development
  • Qualitative coding
  • Intercoder reliability assessment
  • Report and manuscript development

Survey Design and Implementation

The Survey Design subgroup of the QSM can assist in the design of questionnaires and survey implementation protocols. The survey group aims to provide guidance for creating precise and well-crafted survey questions and questionnaires, as well as survey implementation protocols that will yield high quality data and maximize response rates. Specifically, the survey group can assist in the following areas:

  • Selection of existing questions and instruments to use in surveys
  • Best practices for writing and revising survey questions
  • Visual design and layout of questionnaires
  • Cognitive effects of question ordering, framing and wording
  • Methods for pre-testing questionnaires
  • Survey data collection protocols, contact methods, and survey implementation strategies, including selecting survey mode(s) and maximizing response rates and data quality
  • Survey data analysis
  • Text describing survey design and implementation in grant applications and manuscripts


Our team has a strong background in psychometrics, assessment and methodological consultancy. We have experience in traditional questionnaire development and validation as well as more modern Item Response design. We can use the modern quantitative and qualitative and mixed methods research and analyses. Our extensive consulting services include:

  • Identification of valid and reliable instruments, including PROMIS, patient-reported outcomes, and other published measurement tools
  • New instrument development using classical test theory and/or item response theory, including screening tools, or computerized adaptive instruments
  • Evaluation and/or adaptation of existing instruments, including development of instrument short forms and equivalent forms
  • Psychometric analysis, including reliability, validity, bias analysis and appropriateness of analytical methods
  • Health care utilities determination and validation
  • Evaluation of patient preference from patient-reported outcomes, treatment, and other data sources
  • Longitudinal analyses of patient-reported outcomes to track recovery, treatment effectiveness, and satisfaction
  • Data visualization and formatting
  • Data transformation, processing and cleaning, and creation of data dictionaries ready for analyses