Every field of practice has the responsibility to evaluate its outcomes and to test its theories. Evidence of the underdevelopment of measurement instruments in bioethics suggests that attending to strengthening existing instruments and developing new ones will facilitate the interpretation of accumulating bodies of research as well as the making of clinical judgements. A review of 65 instruments reported in the published literature showed 10 with even a minimal level of psychometric data. Two newly developed instruments provide examples of the full use of psychometric and ethical theory. Bioethicists use a wide range of methods for knowledge development and verification; each method should meet stringent standards of quality.
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Competing interests: none declared