The subject of instrument relevance is addressed by examining issues that have arisen in the use of a single scale over a forty year period. The issues revolve around the impact of varying social conditions, changing ethos, differential respondent receptiveness, and evolving research technology. Extended use of an instrument, it is argued, yields information that transcends the conventional techniques for testing instrument adequacy. The lack of opportunities in social work for accessing information on extended use of measurement tools is due, among other factors, to a preoccupation with working on subjects that are new and original and to a lack of coordination among research endeavors.

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