An opportunity to refine our understanding of "response shift" and to educate researchers on designing quality research studies: response to Ubel, Peeters, and Smith.
There is no advantage at this time to abandon the term "response shift" as suggested by Ubel et al. (Qual Life Res, 2010). The term is well known in the research field and has impacted the way we think about measuring quality of life (QOL) longitudinally. However, Ubel et al. (Qual Life Res, 2010) have provided the incentive to start an open dialogue on the subject with opportunities to refine the language of response shift and educate researchers. In this article, we identify opportunities in designing research studies to minimize or account for response shifts by considering the (1) selection of QOL concepts to measure, (2) questionnaires used to assess the QOL concepts, (3) design of the research study, (4) target population, and (5) analyses and reporting of results. Careful consideration of each of these issues will help us identify new methodologies and improved study designs that will move the QOL research field forward.
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