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National Cancer Institute

Grid-Enabled Measures Database

What is GEM?

Grid-Enabled Measures (GEM) is a dynamic, interactive website that contains behavioral and social science measures organized by theoretical constructs. GEM enables researchers to collaborate with others, encourages the use of common measures, and faciliates the sharing of harmonized data.

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Why Use GEM?
  • Coordinate the behavioral research enterprise
  • Help build a cumulative base of knowledge
  • Enable more efficient research
  • Facilitate collaboration
  • Advance health information technology
  • Fulfill datasharing requirements
What Are the Benefits of GEM?

GEM allows the user to search for a construct (e.g., anxiety, depression), see a definition of the construct, view its associated theoretical foundation, and download different measures of the construct. Similarly, the user can search for a measure and see attributes of that measure (e.g., definition, target population, author, reliability, validity), including the associated construct.

GEM also allows the user to add new information using Web 2.0 functionality. Based upon a "wiki” platform, users help build the website by adding and editing measures and constructs, and providing feedback as well as ratings. Users can also receive usage statistics about measures to help decide which measure to use in prospective research.

Goals of GEM

The GEM database has been conceptualized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and developed by Westat Inc. with two overarching aims for behavioral research:

  • Promote the use of standardized measures which are tied to theoretically-based constructs; and
  • Facilitate the ability to share harmonized data resulting from the use of standardized measures.

These goals are achieved by creating a virtual community of researchers who interact through GEM using web 2.0 capabilities. GEM was developed to empower a virtual research community to collaborate and conduct research more efficiently while simultaneously advancing health information technology and promoting the use of secondary data analysis.

Using GEM

GEM is a publicly available resource and has been used by stakeholders who want to decide on the best measures to use for prospective research. GEM workspaces are available that allow users to gain consensus on the use of common measures within specific content areas. Current examples can be found here.


Richard P. Moser, Ph.D.
Phone: 240-276-6915