Clinical instruments: reliability and validity critical appraisal

J Eval Clin Pract. 2012 Dec;18(6):1126-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2011.01707.x. Epub 2011 Jun 20.


RATIONALE, AIM AND OBJECTIVES: There is a lack of health care practitioners using objective clinical tools with sound psychometric properties. There is also a need for researchers to improve their reporting of the validity and reliability results of these clinical tools. Therefore, to promote the use of valid and reliable tools or tests for clinical evaluation, this paper reports on the development of a critical appraisal tool to assess the psychometric properties of objective clinical tools.

Method: A five-step process was followed to develop the new critical appraisal tool: (1) preliminary conceptual decisions; (2) defining key concepts; (3) item generation; (4) assessment of face validity; and (5) formulation of the final tool.

Results: The new critical appraisal tool consists of 13 items, of which five items relate to both validity and reliability studies, four items to validity studies only and four items to reliability studies. The 13 items could be scored as 'yes', 'no' or 'not applicable'.

Conclusion: This critical appraisal tool will aid both the health care practitioner to critically appraise the relevant literature and researchers to improve the quality of reporting of the validity and reliability of objective clinical tools.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Observer Variation
  • Psychometrics / standards*
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*