Purpose: The overall purposes of this article are to report the development of a survey instrument, Scientific Misconduct Questionnaire-Revised (SMQ-R) that elicits the perceptions of research coordinators managing clinical trials about the various aspects of scientific misconduct and to present psychometric analyses for the SMQ-R.
Methods: A panel of five researchers and research coordinators reviewed the original SMQ (Rankin and Esteeves, 1997) and suggested an additional 42 items based on the review of the literature and their own experiences in research. The SMQ-Revised (SMQ-R) consists of 68 closed-choice items in six sections and one section with 12 open-ended questions. The SMQ-R was sent to 5302 persons who were members of the Association for Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) or subscribers to Research Practitioner, published by the Center for Clinical Research Practice (CCRP).
Findings: Internal consistency of subscales was assessed with Cronbach's alpha and ranged from .83 to .84. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test construct validity of the instrument subscales. The factor structure was assessed with the principal factors method, using the squared multiple correlations as initial communality estimates followed by varimax (orthogonal) or biquartimax (oblique) rotations. Analyses revealed five distinct factors among three subscales. Construct validity for the SMQ-R was also assessed by testing hypothesized relationships using the known groups approach.
Conclusion: The current effort demonstrated the usefulness of the SMQ-R in obtaining information from a national sample of experienced research coordinators about their perceptions of the prevalence of different types of scientific misconduct and of factors that influence the occurrence of misconduct. The psychometric evaluation of the SMQ-R suggests good internal consistency for most subscales and suggests adequate construct validity of the instrument as a whole. The analyses also suggest that further refinement of the instrument for future studies is warranted.