In recent years there has been increased
pressure on human services to show they are achieving outcomes.
This has led to a focus on measurement of outcomes.
Human services focusing
on whether or not they are making a difference for clients
is a good thing.
Key questions are:
How does one know? Will other people believe us? How can
we show a cause and effect link between what our service
does and changes in clients?
In answering these questions
there has been a growing emphasis on the
use of standardised questionnaires and tools; often without
adequately addressing cause and effect linkages. There
are many paradoxes and dilemmas in measuring outcomes.
See also Client
questionnaires, Examples and On-line
surveys for more
examples of questionnaires.
There are thousands of
standardised tools for health and community services. Some
for services working with families and children include
of life - Australian
well being Index
depression - Edinburgh
Post-natal depression scale
relationship- The Pianta
three sub-scales (conflicts, positive aspects
of the relationship and dependence) .
behaviour - Strengths
and difficulties questionnaire - This
five sub-scales (emotional, conduct, hyperactivity,
peer and pro-social) and a total score (which
excludes pro social).
development - Battelle
Development Quotient is
a standardised score of child development.
anxiety and stress - The DASS21 is
a set of three self-report scales designed to
measure the negative emotional states of depression,
anxiety and stress
- Adolescents self-description
- SDQI -
The Self Description Questionnaire I is
designed to measure multiple dimensions of self-concept
- Personal effectiveness - ROPELOC -
The ROPELOC instrument contains 14 scales; including
personal abilities and beliefs (Self-Confidence,
Self-Efficacy, Stress Management, Open Thinking),
social abilities (Social Effectiveness, Cooperative
Teamwork, Leadership Ability), organisational skills
(Time Management, Quality Seeking, Coping with Change
Advantages of using standardised questionnaires
and tools such as those above can include:
The ease of using already developed measures
Being able to relate your
findings with others findings
Being able to compare your clients with
the population generally or other groups of clients
The disadvantages of using standardised
questionnaires and tools can include.
They may be longer and more intrusive
than one might wish to be with one's clients
They don't measure exactly what you
want to measure
They may require a specialist to administer
(e.g. a psychologist is required for the Battelle)
There may be additional costs such
as copyright fees.
When thinking about using
standardised tools some useful questions are:
- What is your purpose?
- What do you want to measure?
- What does the standardised tool measure?
- How certain
do you want to be?
- Who do you need to convince?
you doing evaluation? Or research?
- How will you show
a cause and effect linkage between your service and
the outcomes for your clients?
- How will the use of the
tool impact on the clients?
- How will the use of the tool
impact on the service process?