In geriatric rehabilitation, the selection of the most appropriate measurement tools involves pragmatic as well as psychometric considerations. However, there is no consensus about the conceptual and operational definitions of the pragmatic criteria involved in this selection. The objective of this research was to identify such operational criteria through a literature search between 1995 and 2004. Results identified operational criteria that were grouped under four categories using a conceptual mapping methodology: respondent burden, examiner burden, score distribution and format compatibility. We recommend the umbrella term applicability to refer to this grouping of pragmatic qualities of a measurement tool. Examining the applicability of measurement tools should assist clinicians and researchers in selecting the most appropriate for use in geriatric rehabilitation.