Survey Guidelines

Documenting Measurement Instruments for the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Measurement is the key to any quantitative science. Both the validity and the replicability of research findings hinge on the quality of the measurement instruments used. This is especially true for the social and behavioral sciences. Here, researchers often investigate constructs such as personality, attitudes, values, intentions or behavior. Such 'latent' constructs cannot be directly observed but can only be inferred indirectly from the respondents' responses to a survey (i.e., items, scales, questionnaires or tests), which lends even greater importance to the quality of the measurement instruments used. For this reason, a thorough documentation of measurement instruments is an integral part of a transparent research practices.  In this guideline, we list information that is crucial for the documentation of measurement instruments in surveys. The guideline is aligned with the quality standards for the documentation of measurement instruments in the social sciences (RatSWD, 2014) and with the standards for the documentation of psychological characteristics of the test evaluation system of the Test Board of the Federation of German Psychologists. Whereas some of these quality standards were developed for testing individuals in applied settings, our lists focuses specifically on documenting measurement instruments intended for social and behavior science research. In research, slightly different quality criteria apply compared to individual diagnostics.

You can download the guideline here:

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