Using the PhenX Toolkit to Add Standard Measures to a Study

Curr Protoc Hum Genet. 2015 Jul 1;86:1.21.1-1.21.17. doi: 10.1002/0471142905.hg0121s86.


The PhenX (consensus measures for Phenotypes and eXposures) Toolkit ( offers high-quality, well-established measures of phenotypes and exposures for use by the scientific community. The goal is to promote the use of standard measures, enhance data interoperability, and help investigators identify opportunities for collaborative and translational research. The Toolkit contains 395 measures drawn from 22 research domains (fields of research), along with additional collections of measures for Substance Abuse and Addiction (SAA) research, Mental Health Research (MHR), and Tobacco Regulatory Research (TRR). Additional measures for TRR that are expected to be released in 2015 include Obesity, Eating Disorders, and Sickle Cell Disease. Measures are selected by working groups of domain experts using a consensus process that includes input from the scientific community. The Toolkit provides a description of each PhenX measure, the rationale for including it in the Toolkit, protocol(s) for collecting the measure, and supporting documentation. Users can browse measures in the Toolkit or can search the Toolkit using the Smart Query Tool or a full text search. PhenX Toolkit users select measures of interest to add to their Toolkit. Registered Toolkit users can save their Toolkit and return to it later to revise or complete. They then have options to download a customized Data Collection Worksheet that specifies the data to be collected, and a Data Dictionary that describes each variable included in the Data Collection Worksheet. The Toolkit also has a Register Your Study feature that facilitates cross-study collaboration by allowing users to find other investigators using the same PhenX measures.

Keywords: PhenX; phenotypes; environmental exposures; epidemiology; genome-wide association studies (GWAS); research; standard measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Phenotype*
  • Software
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Web Browser