If the tool sounds simplistic, Gueldner is just fine with that. Existing tools to measure people's sense of well-being have tended to be far more erudite than hers and for some populations not worth the paper they were written on, Gueldner said.
"The usual tools that people give you to measure well-being ask questions like, ' Do you feel more pragmatic or visionarymore finite or transcendent,'" she said. " Can you imagine going into a nursing home and asking people that?
"Many people, particularly in older groups, which is what I'm interested in, have no research voice because they couldn't respond to those kind of questions. But they can do mine."
Gueldner is convinced, and early studies seem to confirm, that her admittedly simple, black-and-white pictorial tool --consisting of 10 pairs of line drawings of everyday images like a butterfly, balloons, sneakers, eyes, clouds, pencils, puzzle pieces, candles and water faucets-- will soon be helping nurses and other health care and human service practitioners learn more about the sometimes silent populations that rely on their services.
The fact that the tool, known as the refined Index of Field Energy (IFE-R), can be completed in crayon was proven by at least one group of children with cerebral palsy who participated in field trials of the instrument. The pictorial survey presents oppositional image sets, such as a sharp pencil opposite a dull pencil, a turtle opposite a butterfly, a
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