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Standardized outcome measures may already exist for the kind of data you wish to collect. If not, you may need to develop your own measure. One advantage to using a standardized measure is that its validity and reliability should be well established in the literature. On the other hand, standardized measures can be costly and may require special training to administer.

Developing your own outcome measure allows you to tailor questions to your program goals, may be less expensive than using a standardized measure, and avoids any restrictions on the qualifications of staff that can administer or score the instrument. Any measure that is "home-grown" will need to be tested before use in a study, so that you can determine its reliability and validity and document its psychometric properties.

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