Updated: Jul 24
Tom Jenkins won the 2021 John Grace QC PhD Scholarship and is carrying out his research at Bath University. Tom’s project is titled ‘Developing our Understanding of Dehumanisation in People with Psychosis’ and below he writes about his experience of attending the Patients Reported Outcome Measures conference to present a poster.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the 7th annual Patients Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) conference in Sheffield, organised by The School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield and PROMs Network UK. The conference featured a mix of health professionals, including doctors, nurses, health economists, statisticians, researchers, and physiotherapists, who have been working on the development of PROMs. A PROM is a questionnaire designed to capture a person’s health or quality of life status. A wide range of PROMs were on display at the conference, from measures of long COVID rehabilitation to quality of life in dementia.
I had been invited to present a poster on my PhD research – the development of a measure of feelings of dehumanisation in psychosis. The poster focused on our methodology, and the process by which we came up with statements to capture the experience of dehumanisation. This was my first time presenting a poster, and I really enjoyed the experience. I was usually talking to one or two people at a time, so it felt very personal and interactive, and enabled open discussion about the research.
This was the first conference I have attended which was not psychology or mental health focused, therefore a great opportunity to meet with people from different disciplines and backgrounds. I was exposed to new and innovative developments in questionnaire methodology, and learned about research methods, such as think-aloud interviewing and Rasch modelling, which will be useful the next stages of my PhD. A number of researchers highlighted and paid great care in ensuring their measures are accessible and clear to their target population – a concept known as ‘face validity’. Face validity is often overlooked in measure development, but really, it is so important that a questionnaire makes sense to those who will be completing it. Ensuring face validity is a key consideration for us in the next stage of our research.
The talks which stood out most for me were by Dr Jill Carlton from the University of Sheffield, and Dr Tim Pickles from the University of Cardiff. Jill highlighted the importance of ensuring our measures reflect the concept we are setting out to measure – known as ‘content validity’. Tim Pickles gave a brilliant talk about his team’s Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity measure – I was particularly impressed with Tim’s qualitative and quantitative approach to data analysis. There were many others I spoke to throughout the day who inspired me, and it was a real joy to hear from so many people with a passion for measure development.
I am incredibly grateful to MHRUK for their grant to enable my attendance and would like to thank all those who support the charity for their kindness and generosity.