About the NIDILRR Tools Collection

The majority of the tools listed in this database were designed to gather research data specific to a protocol or research design. Some are designed to be used by consumers receiving services, other by rehabilitation professionals in serving their clients. They may be specific to the population studied or may be applied to other groups with varying degrees of modification.Each year NARIC compiles a directory NIDILRR Program Directory of the approximately 400 projects funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). To develop the collection, NARIC designed an interview instrument , in consultation with NIDILRRs Policy Planning Budget and Evaluation unit, to select only those tools developed under NIDILRR funding. Through this examination process the 71 grantees identified as tools developers were narrowed down to 29 projects and 43 tools. The interview process sought information on the tools purpose and contents targeting six key areas: authorship, objective, design, application, results/norms, and implications. Key project staff members served as primary contact points, including principal investigators.A central question to the interviews was: Can the data gathered, or the tool itself, be generalized to other communities? The surveys, checklists, questionnaires, and other tools were primarily designed to answer specific research question or to fit an existing need in the community. In many cases, the data gathered can be used to inform policy makers working for positive change in the disability community at large. As you make your way through the resources listed here, consider whether the issues, features, and results fit within your own research design. General findings gained from the interviewing and examination process include: Consumer input is utilized in all but the most technical projects.

  • Consumer input was utilized through project boards that include people with disabilities, clients being served by a center or institute, and volunteers. Of those interviewed, those projects that did not utilize consumer input included a project on prosthetic measurement and design and a survey of state agencies.
  • In-house and outside consultation was utilized by some researchers in the development process.
  • About half of the tools developed can be generalized either to similar projects or to other populations.
  • If approvals were required, they were granted through the IRB process of the institution attached.
  • Confidentiality and sensitive issues, when present, were addressed by anonymity.
  • Limitations vary from equipment, to operator error, to incomplete surveys.
  • Analysis techniques range from numeric comparison to qualitative review.

Overall the tools are useful in gathering qualitative and descriptive data for specific disabilities, identifying service needs from a consumer’s viewpoint, and providing service providers with information on consumers with disabilities.Each listing includes:

Basic information about the tool:
Title, author or authors, specific disability and/or population, time to complete, any special equipment needed.
Project information:
Project and subproject title, principal investigators, contact information.
Literature and database reviews, peer and consumer input, methodology and question selection.
Features and implementation:
What areas does the tool cover? Who uses it? How is confidentiality maintained? Are there sensitive issues involved? Are there known limitations to the tool or to the study itself?
Data analysis and results:
Sample data, analysis methods, results.