The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Group is currently developing computerized adaptive testing measures for the Quality of Life Questionnaire Core-30 (QLQ-C30) scales. The work presented here describes the development of an EORTC item bank for emotional functioning (EF), which is one of the core domains of the QLQ-C30.
According to the EORTC guidelines on module development, the development of the EF item bank comprised four phases, of which the phases I–III are reported in the present paper.
Phase I involved defining the theoretical framework for the EF item bank and a literature search. Phase II included pre-defined item selection steps and a multi-stage expert review process. In phase III, feedback from cancer patients from different countries was obtained.
On the basis of literature search in phase I, a list of 1750 items was generated. These were reviewed and further developed in phase II with a focus on relevance, redundancy, clarity, and difficulty. The development and selection steps led to a preliminary list of 41 items. In phase III, patient interviews (N = 41; Austria, Denmark, Italy, and the UK) were conducted with the preliminary item list, resulting in some minor changes to item wording. The final list comprised 38 items.
The phases I–III of the developmental process have resulted in an EF item list that was well accepted by patients in several countries. The items will be subjected to larger-scale field testing in order to establish their psychometric characteristics and their fit to an item response theory model.