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User Guide

Table of contents

  1. 1 Introduction to the User Guide

    Introduction to the User Guide

    This guide is intended to help users become familiar with the database, including the outcomes framework, website layout, domain structure, search capabilities, and feedback functions. The success of this database will depend on users and will continue to be updated and improved, so we look forward to hearing from you!

    Disclaimer

    While we have tried to provide resources for assessing the psychometric properties of instruments included in the database, we take no responsibility for the scientific validity of these instruments. We also are not recommending or promoting any particular outcome measure.

  2. 2 The framework of outcome domains

    The framework of outcome domains

    The key to using the database is to understand and use the Framework of Outcome Domains specifically developed for relevance to CAM research and practice. This framework integrates different measurable aspects (or "domains") of health, from specific individual measures to holistic measures, into a unified scheme, as shown below:

    1. 2.1 Description of framework domains

      Descriptions of framework domains

      Each component of the framework is a domain. The description of each domain is provided below:

      Holistic Domain includes measures that assess outcomes on a global level and encompasses each of the other domains in this database simultaneously. Holistic outcomes are greater than the sum of their component parts.

      Context Domain includes measures that assess the set of circumstances encompassing the intervention or healing experience, such as the patient-provider relationship. Contextual issues, although not outcomes per se, may impact the healing experience and thus patient outcomes

      Process Domain includes measures that assess factors related to the process of healing and personal transformation, such as learning, personal growth and enablement. Although not an outcome per se, process related factors may have an effect on patient outcomes.

      Quality of Life Domain includes measures that assess quality of life, which is a difficult concept to define. For the purpose of this database we define quality of life outcome measures as those that assess any two of physical, psychological, social or spiritual outcomes. If an outcome measure is labeled as "quality of life" but only addresses one of these domains it can be found within the relevant domain.

      Spiritual Domain includes measures that assess outcomes related to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical self.

      Social Domain includes measures that assess outcomes related to the life and relations of humans in their community. Measures that assess spiritual behaviour, but not spiritual beliefs, are included in this domain.

      Psychological Domain includes measures that assess outcomes related to the mind, emotions or other mental phenomena.

      Physical Domain includes measures that assess outcomes related to the body, as distinguished from the mind or spirit.

      Individualized Domain includes measures that assess outcomes as identified by the individual patient or research participant. While these can assess the content of the outcomes in any of the other domains, this domain captures the specific nature of each individual's specific symptoms or goals.

    2. 2.2 Browsing and searching the database

      Browsing and searching the database

      There are four main ways of using the database to search for an outcome measure.

      There are two browsing methods:

      1. browse by domain
      2. browse by alphabet

      And two search methods:

      1. Search the Outcomes Database
      2. Advanced search

      The two browsing features (by domain and by alphabet) can be accessed by using the "Browse Database" link on the menu bar. The "Search the Outcomes Database"feature is located at the bottom of the menu bar. The "Advanced Search" is accessed using a separate link below Browse Database on the menu bar.

      1. 2.2.1 Browsing by domain

        Browsing by domain

        This search option uses the framework to look for outcome measures based on their classification within a specific domain. Select the "Browse Database - Domain" option. Scroll your mouse over the title of each domain. When you see a hand or the title of the domain, click on it (left mouse button). This will produce a search window which contains the domain.

        Clicking on a specific instrument will open the first page, which provides general information including: the instrument title, description, author(s), how to access the instrument and mode of administration. To access all information facets on the instrument, click on theExtended Details tab.

      2. 2.2.2 Browsing by alphabet

        Browse by Alphabet

        Outcome measures can also be located alphabetically. In the Browse Database option, select theAlphabetical by Title link. Select a letter that corresponds to the first letter of the first word in the title of the outcome measure being sought. All outcome measures in the database where the first word begins with the letter selected will be listed.

      3. 2.2.3 Search the Outcomes Database

        Search the Outcomes Database

        The search feature is a keyword search. Type in a keyword and all outcome measures will be identified that contain that keyword in the outcome measure title or any of the information facets. If you enter more than one keyword, the search will return all outcome measures that contain at least one of the keywords in the title of the outcome measure or information facet.

      4. 2.2.4 Advanced search

        Advanced search

        The advanced search function also searches the Outcomes Database and allows a more structured and limited search of the database. The search can be limited to keywords in the domain, title, author, description and/or year sections.

        Domain – a topical descriptor

        Title – the title of the outcome measure

        Author(s) – the author or authors names, for an exact match you must enter the first name followed by the last name.

        Description – is a textual description of the outcome measure

        Year – is the year the outcome measure was created.

        The following options are available when searching the Domain, Instrument Title, Author(s), Description or Year Created:

        Contains – means the outcome measure record has the search words entered in the text box for that option (Domain, Identifier, Title, Author(s), Description or Year Created). This is the same type of search as the quick search.

        Is equal to – will generated a list of outcome measures that exactly match the word or phrase entered.

        Starts with – will generate a list of outcome measures that begin with the phrase entered.

    3. 3 Location of the database

      Location of the outcomes database

      The Outcomes Database is formally housed in the International Society of Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR) website, iscmr.org

    4. 4 Do I need to register to access the database?

      Do I need to register to access the database?

      The database is free to use for ISCMR members, and no further registration is required.

    5. 5 How to suggest an outcome measure for inclusion in the database

      How to suggest an outcome measure for inclusion in the database

      If you would like to recommend an outcome measure that is not included in this database, please complete the on-line form found on the "Suggest an Outcome Measure" page. All submissions will be reviewed by the Outcomes Database team to identify whether the outcome measure is relevant and/or of particular importance to CAM research and practice.

    6. 6 Submitting information on outcome measures in the database

      Submitting information on outcome measures in the database

      As the Outcomes Database is a work in progress, additional and updated information on existing outcome measures will be posted as it is located or becomes available.

      If you are aware of any new information relating to an existing outcome measure's psychometric properties or use in CAM research and practice, please contact us at outcomesdatabase@iscmr.org

    7. 7 System requirements

      System Requirements

      It is recommended that you access the Outcomes Database using Internet Explorer 6+ or Firefox 2+ on PC, or Firefox 2+ on Mac. Javascript must be turned on in your browser to use most of the site as well.

Version 2008