Session: Harnessing the Power of Qualitative Insights for the Development of Inclusive Measurement Instruments (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

93 Harnessing the Power of Qualitative Insights for the Development of Inclusive Measurement Instruments

Friday, January 13, 2023: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Maryvale B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Symposium Organizer:
Elizabeth Bowen, PhD, University at Buffalo
Jane Gilgun, PhD, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Social work science, as well as social work practice, are enhanced by the development of measurement tools that are psychometrically strong, culturally responsive, and sensitive to change. Although there is a robust body of scholarship guiding approaches to instrument development, a frequently overlooked approach is the use of qualitative methods in psychometrics. Considering that measures are composed of concepts and their indicators, qualitative methods are well-suited to the identifications of core concepts and the specification of indicators, as this is essentially the task of qualitative researchers. Furthermore, measurement instruments based on the results of qualitative inquiry are psychometrically strong (Gilgun, 2004). Qualitative methods can offer distinctive insights in various phases of the measurement development process, including item generation, assessment of content validity, revision following pilot testing, and evaluations of existing measures.

In addition, qualitative approaches center the perspectives of research participants and their lived experiences. By developing instruments that "start where clients are" and use peoples' own language, instruments are more likely to be culturally sensitive and inclusive. Although item conceptualization and generation is typically an expert-led process, validity-on-the-ground (e.g. cultural validity) is ultimately shaped by the extent to which measurement items accurately reflect consumers' experiences, vocabularies, and world views. One danger of the proliferation of measures that may be deemed psychometrically sound but are not culturally valid for diverse populations is poor sensitivity for capturing change, hindering the progress of intervention research (LeCroy, 2019). Qualitative approaches to measurement development are a promising response to these concerns.

The research presented in this symposium illuminates ways in which qualitative methods can be used to establish cultural validity and inclusivity in measurement development by centering perspectives of people with lived experiences in the areas of interest. By highlighting psychometric research across a range of topic areas and populations, the symposium conveys the versatility and utility of qualitative approaches in this area of scholarship.

Paper 1 addresses the development of an inventory of school supports for military-connected students and families and how individual and focus group interviews with key stakeholders informed the structure of the measure and the items included.

Paper 2 examines the use of qualitative methods to develop and refine items for a new measure of recovery capital, with a focus on sampling for diversity with regard to race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and treatment pathway when eliciting qualitative feedback on prospective items from people in recovery from alcohol problems.

Paper 3 describes how qualitative data can be used to assess the fit and function of three traditional eating disorder assessment measures within non-traditional patient populations. Themes arising from this qualitative analysis suggest ways of tailoring current measures to fit the growing diversity of eating disorder patients.

The discussant, a senior researcher who used qualitive methods to develop clinical assessment tools, will synthesize themes across the presentations and offer commentary. The discussant will also moderate questions and discussion from attendees.

NOTE: This symposium was accepted for SSWR 2022 but withdrawn due to COVID-19 travel concerns.

* noted as presenting author
Listening Closely to Measure Better: Using Qualitative Data to Build an Inventory of School Supports for Military-Connected Students and Families
Renee Spencer, EdD, LICSW, Boston University School of Social Work; Juliann Nicholson, MSW, Boston University; Jake Steggerda, BA, University of Arkansas; Alison L. Drew, PhD, New York University; Carla Herrera, PhD, Portland State University; Amy Slep, PhD, New York University; Timothy A. Cavell, PhD, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Toward Representation in Recovery Measurement: Insights from Qualitative Analyses for Item Development for a Recovery Capital Inventory Tool
Elizabeth Bowen, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo; Andrew Irish, West Virginia University; Charles LaBarre, MSW, State University of New York at Buffalo; Nicole Capozziello, MSW, State University of New York at Buffalo; Thomas Nochajski, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo; Robert Granfield, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo
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