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Table 1 Criteria guiding inclusion and exclusion of themes and items/scales in the Lolland-Falster Health Study (LOFUS) questionnaires

From: Questionnaire development for the Lolland-Falster Health Study, Denmark: an iterative and incremental process

Criteria guiding inclusionExplanation
Importance and relevanceAssessed by steering committee based on protocols from PIs applying for data collection in LOFUS, included aspects such as clear research question and clinical, public health, or theoretical importance.
FairnessBalancing needs and wishes of each subproject.
ValidityUse of validated items/scales to save time and resources, allow for comparison between studies, and promote publications. Alternatively, inclusion of items/scales previously used in population surveys to allow for comparisons between studies. Otherwise, inclusion of in-house made items.
Length (feasibility)Weighting of depth against breadth and response burden. Negotiations with subprojects on “need-to-know” versus “nice-to-know” to cut length without compromising research aims.
Acceptance/ethical considerationsWeighting of potentially negative effects of including sensitive and/or offensive items/scales against arguments for inclusion, e.g. politically prioritised fields of interest.
Simplicity/easy to understandWeighting of simplicity and comprehensibility due to relatively high illiteracy in the target population.
HarmonizationInclusion of items/scales that could be used across age-groups or merged with data from other studies.
Criteria guiding exclusionExplanation
Data available in registriesLimiting response burden by using information that could be retrieved from national registries.
DiagnosesInformation about medical diagnoses are more reliable through national registries than through self-reported questionnaire.
Copyright on items/scalesaCopyright may limit design options of questionnaires and add extra cost.
  1. aA few exceptions from this criterion were made due to special requests from subprojects