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faces scales, job satisfaction scales, pain scales single-item measures



  1. Patrician, Patricia A.


Background: Single-item measures of constructs are parsimonious alternatives to multiple-item measures in many types of research. Before selecting a particular instrument, researchers must first determine whether to use a multi-item or single-item instrument to measure the concept to be evaluated. Currently, single-item measures are widely used for both pain and job satisfaction research.


Objective: To review theoretical and empirical studies of single-item measures, with an emphasis on graphic representational (faces) scales.


Methods: In this review, theoretical considerations, reliability, validity issues, and comparisons between single- and multiple-item measures are discussed. Faces scales are emphasized as an economical method for assessing such affective responses as pain and job satisfaction.


Results: Single-item measures in general, and faces scales in particular, can be valid and reliable measures for global concepts.


Conclusions: Because of their ease of administration, lessened respondent burden, and global concept representation, single-item measures have great potential for various types of research. Nurse researchers should seriously consider single-item measures as part of their methodological research "toolkit."