Construct validation of the Research Engagement Survey Tool (REST)

Melody S. Goodman, Nicole Ackermann, Zoé Haskell-Craig, Sherrill Jackson, Deborah J. Bowen, Vetta L. Sanders Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Research Engagement Survey Tool (REST) was developed to examine the level of partner (e.g., patients, caregivers, advocates, clinicians, community members) engagement in research studies. The REST is aligned with eight engagement principles based on the literature and consensus reached through a five round Delphi process. Each of the engagement principles has three-five corresponding items that are assessed on two Likert type scales quantity (how often: never, rarely, sometimes, often, always, not applicable) and quality (how well: poor, fair, good, very good, excellent, not applicable). We conducted a comprehensive validation of the REST. Despite the importance of partner engagement in research, currently no gold standard measure exists. Methods: Multiple strategies were employed to validate the REST. Here, we examine the internal consistency of items for each of the eight engagement principles. In addition, we examine the convergent validity of the comprehensive (32-item) REST with other measures (e.g., medical mistrust, Community Engagement in Research Index, Partnership Self-Assessment Tool, Wilder collaboration inventory, Partnership Assessment In community-based Research). We propose two scoring approaches for the REST; one aligned with the engagement principles and the other aligned with levels of community engagement: (1) outreach and education, (2) consultation, (3) cooperation, (4) collaboration, and (5) partnership. Results: The REST has strong internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha > 0.75) for each of the eight engagement principals measured on both scales (quality and quantity). The REST had negligible (e.g., medical mistrust, community engagement in research index), low (e.g., Partnership Assessment In community-based Research, Partnership Self-Assessment Tool- benefits scale), and moderate (e.g., Wilder collaboration inventory, Partnership Self-Assessment Tool- synergy scale) statistically significant correlations with other measures based on the Spearman rank correlation coefficient. These results suggest the REST is measuring something similar and correlated to the existing measures, but it captures a different construct (perceived research engagement). Conclusions: The REST is a valid and reliable tool to assess research engagement of community health stakeholders in the research process. Valid tools to assess research engagement are necessary to examine the impact of engagement on the scientific process and scientific discovery and move the field of stakeholder engagement from best practices and lessons learned to evidence-based approaches based on empirical data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
JournalResearch Involvement and Engagement
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Construct validation
  • Convergent validity
  • Internal consistency
  • Research engagement
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Survey measure
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • General Health Professions


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