Original Research

Methodological rigour and coherence in the construction of instruments: The emotional social screening tool for school readiness

Erica Munnik, Mario R. Smith
African Journal of Psychological Assessment | Vol 1 | a2 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajopa.v1i0.2 | © 2019 Erica Munnik, Mario R. Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 October 2018 | Published: 24 June 2019

About the author(s)

Erica Munnik, Department of Psychology, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Mario R. Smith, Department of Psychology, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


The need for a contextually relevant and empirically grounded measure of emotional social competence in Grade R children was identified in the literature. The aim of this study was to develop a contextually relevant instrument for emotional social competence in preschool children. The study adopted a four-phase approach with each phase using distinct methodological approaches. This article reports on the use of multiple research methods to achieve methodological rigour and coherence in the construction. Phase 1 used systematic review methodology to establish a theoretical foundation for the instrument. The results identified two domains and nine subdomains that formed the theoretical model for the instrument. In phase 2 stakeholder perceptions of emotional and social competence were identified through concept mapping to increase contextual relevance and sensitivity. The results highlighted that early stimulation and contextual factors impacted school readiness and needed to be included. The construction of the instrument incorporated the findings from the first two stages. The draft instrument was presented to a panel of experts, using the Delphi technique, for validation of content and scalar decisions in phase 3. The results supported the proposed format and content of the screening tool. The resulting instrument was piloted in phase 4 with survey research. Good internal consistency was reported and the factor structure supported. The multiphase methodology provided an overarching framework with methodological rigour and coherence. The grounding in the literature, stakeholder consultation and rigorous validation processes enhanced the resultant instrument. The articulation of one phase into the next ensured methodological coherence.


E3SR; test construction; systematic review; concept mapping; Delphi study; survey research


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