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Clinical Nurse Specialists and other advanced practice nurses (APNs) are relied upon for their expert data based decision-making to ensure excellent clinical practice, high quality evidence-based practice projects, and efficacious research studies. Using measurement instruments to collect data that lack reliability and validity can compromise decisionmaking leading to deleterious results for patients, nurses, and healthcare organizations. The ultimate goal is to choose reliable instruments that produce valid data so that clinical trends, project evaluations, and research findings are trustworthy. Determining the quality of a given instruments is most often done through a critique process. Critiquing potential instruments for use is time consuming and requires knowledge of the scientific principles and theories of psychometric instrumentation. Over a number of future articles, select instruments will be critiqued, making relevant reliability and validity information on those instruments available to readers. The current issue of the Clinical Nurse Specialist journal presents this first article in the series. The purpose of this first article is to provide background information the various types of reliability and validity testing that will be discussed across a series of future instrument critiques. This background article may be used as a reference for those subsequent critique articles.

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