National Cancer Institute
Behavioral Research - Cancer Control and Population Sciences

Research Tools

Selected list of research tools, datasets, theories, and methodologies related to behavioral research.

Research Tools

Grid-Enabled Measures (GEM)
Grid-Enabled Measures (GEM) is a dynamic web-based database that contains behavioral and social science measures organized by theoretical constructs. GEM is designed to enable researchers to use common measures with the goal of exchanging harmonized data. Through the use of these standardized measures and common elements, prospective meta-analyses will be possible.

Team Science Toolkit
The Team Science Toolkit is an interactive website that consolidates knowledge in the Science of Team Science (SciTS) field, and facilitates resource sharing and information exchange among the broad community of stakeholders interested in team science. The Toolkit includes resources to support studies or evaluations of team science such as measures, instruments, study designs, and bibliographic references. The Toolkit supports information exchange through an interactive bibliography of key team science publications, a directory experts, and online discussion boards about news, events, job openings, and funding opportunities relevant to team science.

PhenX Exit Disclaimer
RTI International, in collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), has launched an initiative to contribute to the integration of genetics and epidemiological research. PhenX (pronounced like "phoenix") is a three year project to prioritize Phenotype and eXposure measures for Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS). Leaders of the scientific community will assess and prioritize a broad range of domains relevant to genomics research and public health. The PhenX Steering Committee (SC), chaired by Dr. Jonathan Haines, provides leadership in the selection of domains and domain experts. Members of the SC include outstanding scientists from the research community and liaisons from the Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health.

Cancer Genomic Evidence-based Medicine Knowledge Base (CancerGEM KB) Exit Disclaimer
CancerGEM KB is an integrated, searchable knowledge base of cancer human genome epidemiology and genomic applications in cancer care and prevention. CancerGEM KB is a continuously updated searchable online resource that provides access to scientific information on the use of genomic information in cancer care and prevention.

Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.
Resources for planning cancer awareness and behavior change programs.

Research-tested Intervention Programs (RTIPs)
RTIPs is a searchable database of cancer control interventions and program materials and is designed to provide program planners and public health practitioners easy and immediate access to research-tested materials.

Public Use Surveys

The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) studies how Americans find and use cancer information. The HINTS data collection program was created to monitor changes in the rapidly evolving field of health communication. Survey researchers are using the data to understand how adults 18 years and older use different communication channels, including the Internet, to obtain vital health information for themselves and their loved ones. Program planners are using the data to overcome barriers to health information usage across populations, and obtaining the data they need to create more effective communication strategies. Finally, social scientists are using the data to refine their theories of health communication in the information age and to offer new and better recommendations for reducing the burden of cancer throughout the population. Hints data are available for public use.

Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey
The Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) is a survey of tobacco use that has been administered triennially as part of the U.S. Census Bureau's and Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey since 1992. CDC co-sponsored the 2001-2007 surveys with NCI. The TUS-CPS is a key source of national, state, and some sub-state-level data on smoking and other tobacco use, and other tobacco control policy related measures in the U.S. household population. Data are used to monitor progress in the control of tobacco use, conduct research, evaluate tobacco control programs, and examine health disparities in relation to these goals. The TUS-CPS data are linkable to other CPS supplement data including some information on other cancer risk factors as well as cancer incidence/general mortality data through the National Longitudinal Mortality Study.

Food Attitudes and Behavior (FAB) Survey Project
The purpose of the Food Attitudes and Behaviors (FAB) Survey is to evaluate a variety of factors including knowledge of fruits and vegetable (F/V recommendations), psychosocial factors, as well as other variables that may be related to F/V consumption. Conventional constructs included self-efficacy, barriers, social support, and knowledge of recommendations related to FV consumption. Novel constructs included shopping patterns, taste preferences, views on vegetarianism, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and environmental food offerings.

Add Health Exit Disclaimer
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) is a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of adolescents in grades 7-12 in the United States during the 1994-95 school year. The Add Health cohort has been followed into young adulthood with four in-home interviews, the most recent in 2008, when the sample was aged 24-32. Add Health combines longitudinal survey data on respondents' social, economic, psychological and physical well-being with contextual data on the family, neighborhood, community, school, friendships, peer groups, and romantic relationships, providing unique opportunities to study how social environments and behaviors in adolescence are linked to health and achievement outcomes in young adulthood.

California Health Interview Survey Exit Disclaimer
The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) provides comprehensive data about the health and healthcare needs of Californians.

National Health Interview Survey
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) has monitored the health of the nation since 1957. NHIS data on a broad range of health topics are collected through personal household interviews. For over 50 years, the U.S. Census Bureau has been the data collection agent for the National Health Interview Survey. Survey results have been instrumental in providing data to track health status, health care access, and progress toward achieving national health objectives.

Research Measures and Databases

Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (CLASS) is an empirical scoring system that monitors and evaluates state-level school physical education and nutrition policies that have been codified into law.

Theories Project: Improving Theories of Health Behavior
The goal of the Theories Project is to identify and carry out activities that will help develop improved theories of health behavior. Its focus is on actions that individuals can take to prevent cancer and speed its early detection. The literature on health behavior is large, but progress in understanding health behaviors and in learning how to encourage such actions is not always apparent. Among the activities that may be considered are training in theory development and testing for health behavior researchers who lack such training, recruiting scientists with strong theory orientations to cancer behavior research, development of state-of-the-art summaries of theory-relevant topics when these are lacking, and better communication of opportunities for theory-focused research among current types of NCI grants.

Constructs and Measures for Health Behavior
The Health Behavior Constructs web site is based on a 2008 review and provides definitions of major theoretical constructs employed in health behavior research, and information about the best measures of these constructs. This resource is designed for health behavior researchers in public health, health communications, nursing, psychology, and related fields.

Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Exit Disclaimer
The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) is a publicly available Web-based resource that can be used to measure key health symptoms and health-related quality of life domains such as pain, fatigue, depression, and physical function. These domains are relevant to a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer.

Measures of the Food Environment
T his Web site provides a compilation of articles that include community-level measures of the food environment, as well as some of the instruments themselves. Here, we define the food environment to include food stores, restaurants, schools, and worksites. Measurement of the food environment and its effects on dietary behavior is a relatively new, but growing, field of inquiry. This Web site will be updated on a weekly basis.

Standardized Questionnaires of Walking & Bicycling Database
This database contains questionnaire items and a list of validation studies for standardized items concerning walking and biking from multiple national and international physical activity questionnaires (PAQs). The purpose of this database is to provide easy access to a large number of items assessing duration and frequency of walking and bicycling in the non-disabled adult population. We also briefly review the results of validation studies identified for some of the PAQs.

Measures Guide for Youth Tobacco Research
NCI supported researchers at Brown University, Dr. Suzanne Colby and Dr. Johanna Lewis-Esquerre, to develop a measures guide for youth tobacco research following NCI's June 2000 Youth Tobacco Research Meeting in Denver, CO. The guide is intended as a resource for anyone conducting research on youth tobacco use or intervening with adolescent tobacco users, such as clinicians and public health practitioners. The standardized and psychometrically sound measures presented in this guide were compiled via a detailed method involving its developers and researchers submitting measures for inclusion. The developers used the following inclusion criteria to evaluate each submission: English language, smoking/tobacco/nicotine, quantitative score, data from adolescents, psychometric data, published in a peer-reviewed journal, and has an identifiable name. They then examined the source articles for each measure and drafted the summary and instrument, which was then subjected to a second review. The revised, accepted measures were formalized for inclusion in the online measures guide.

National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research Measures Registry Exit Disclaimer
The NCCOR Measures Registry is a searchable database of diet and physical activity measures relevant to childhood obesity research.

NIH Toolbox Exit Disclaimer
The NIH Toolbox, part of the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint initiative, seeks to develop brief yet comprehensive assessment tools measuring motor, cognitive, sensory, and emotional function. Upon completion, the Toolbox will be available for use in longitudinal epidemiologic studies and prevention or intervention trials for people ages 3-85.


Informatics for Consumer Health Exit Disclaimer
Informatics for Consumer Health is a platform for information sharing, funding opportunities, and dialogue. The mission of Informatics for Consumer Health is to empower providers and consumers to manage health care. The primary objective is to bridge the gap between healthcare and information technology by providing a knowledge base to foster collaborations and partnerships among public and private stakeholders to stimulate behavioral research and evidence based product development.

PopSciGrid Community Health Data Portal
The PopSciGrid Community Health Data Portal, integrated with NCI’s cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG®), is an evolving platform that demonstrates how health behavior, policy, and demographic data can be integrated, visualized, and communicated to empower communities and support new avenues of research and policy for cancer prevention and control.

Tobacco Cessation Guides
The Web site offers a variety of tools designed to help people quit smoking. Site features include an online step-by-step cessation guide, phone numbers for telephone support, a link to instant messaging with NCI counselors, facts about quitting and smoking, and self-help materials with links for downloading or ordering. was developed by NCI and received assistance from CDC. The site is free to the public.

Smokefree Women
Smokefree Women is an extension of It is intended to help you or someone you care about quit smoking. The site offers a special focus on topics important to women. The information and professional assistance available on the Web site can help to support both your immediate and long-term needs as you become, and remain, a nonsmoker. The Web site also contains an interactive feature with Facebook to cultivate an online support community for women trying to quit. The Facebook group, Smokefree Women, will contain a number of social encouragement applications and allow "fans" to share the quit resources with other women.

Last Updated: August 21, 2011

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