Clinical Research Information

Developing and supporting clinical researchers is an important priority for the ARHP. The purpose of the ARHP Research Subcommittee is to advance the research activities of rheumatology health professionals and enhance the development of early career investigators. As part of this mission, we have developed the following web pages for health professional researchers.

In November 2011, Arthritis Care & Research published a supplement entitled Patient Outcomes in Rheumatology: A Review of Measures (Volume 63, Issue 11S) which contains 35 reviews of over 250 outcome instruments. The following are some of the more common outcomes used in clinical research.  See the November 2011 supplement for complete information and other instruments.

Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT)
The purpose of the 6MWT is to measure exercise tolerance in chronic respiratory disease and heart failure, functional exercise capacity in healthy older adults, people undergoing knee or hip arthroplasty, fibromyalgia, and scleroderma. It measures the distance an individual is able to walk over a total of six minutes on a hard, flat surface. The goal is for the individual to walk as far as possible in six minutes. The individual is allowed to self-pace and rest as needed as he/she traverses back and forth along a marked walkway.

Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales 2 (AIMS2)
The AIMS2 is an arthritis-specific measure of physical, social, and emotional well-being. The 59-item self-reported questionnaire measures 12 scales (5 items each for mobility, walking and bending, hand and finger function, arm function, self-care tasks, household tasks, social activity, support from family and friends, arthritis pain, work, level of tension, and mood) over the past month. The questionnaire also includes sections which ask respondents to rate their satisfaction and the impact of arthritis on each of these 12 areas. All of the items use 0-5 numeric rating scales. Scale scores are calculated which range from 0 (best score) to 10 (worst score).  There are multiple versions of the AIMS2, such as the AIMS2-SF.

Evidence-Based Practice
The Evidence-Based Practice page provides links to information on evidence-based practice, systematic reviews, clinical practice guidelines, levels of evidence, critical appraisal tools, and evidence-based programs.

Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ)
The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire assesses the total spectrum of problems related to fibromyalgia. The 21-item self-reported questionnaire (2009 revision) measures 3 domains (physical function, 9 items; overall impact, 2 items; and symptoms, 10 items) over the past week.  All of the items use 0-10 numeric rating scales, with higher numbers reflecting greater severity.  The total score on the questionnaire ranges from 0 (no impairment) to 100 (maximum impairment).

Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue (MAF)
The Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue assesses fatigue. The 16-item self-reported questionnaire measures 4 dimensions (degree and severity, distress, timing of fatigue (over the past week, when it occurred, and any changes), and its effect on activities of daily living over the past week).  All of the items use 0-10 numeric rating scales, with higher numbers reflecting greater severity. The MAF results in a Global Fatigue Index which ranges from 1 (no fatigue) to 50 (severe fatigue).

Outcomes Instrumentation Introduction
The Introduction to Outcome Instruments page defines key concepts and provides examples of outcome instruments used in rheumatology research.

Timed Up and Go (TUG)
The original purpose of the TUG was to test basic mobility skills of frail elderly people. The test has been used in other populations, including people with arthritis, stroke, and vertigo. It measures the time in seconds for a person to rise from sitting from a standard arm chair, walk 3 meters, turn, walk back to the chair, and sit down. The person wears regular footwear and uses his/her customary walking aid.

Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC)
The WOMAC assesses difficulties with pain, stiffness, and physical function (i.e., disability) in people with knee and/or hip osteoarthritis. It is a self-administered questionnaire that consists of 24 items covering the 3 domains/subscales of pain (5 items), stiffness (2 items) and physical function (17 items).  Developed in 1982, the latest version is 3.1 and is available in 5-point Likert, 100 mm Visual Analogue, and 11-box Numerical Rating Scales.  A higher WOMAC overall or subscale score indicates worse pain, stiffness, and/or functional limitations.

Quick Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH)
The QuickDASH measures symptoms and physical function in people with musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremity. The 11-item self-reported questionnaire measures 2 dimensions (8 items on the ability to do activities of daily living and 3 items on symptom severity) over the past week. All of the items use 0-5 numeric rating scales, with higher numbers reflecting greater severity. Scale scores are calculated which range from 0 (no disability) to 100 (most severe disability).  The QuickDASH is taken from the much longer DASH (30 items).  It also has 2 optional modules (Work and Sports/Performing Arts) which examine the effect of the musculoskeletal disorder on these two performance areas.


There are many organizations that have developed systems for defining and sharing information related to evidence-based practice. It is not our intent to repeat that activity, but identify resources available. We do not sanction one over the other, nor do we imply that these are the only sites available from which to gather this information. See additional ACR Policies and Guidelines >