Anyone have any tips/experience with ways to track pain/discomfort (or related subjective variables) over time? The first thing that comes to mind is a numerical scale, but when I’ve tried using one in the past I’ve been uncertain about whether I’m making a consistent subjective evaluation over time.
For “restedness” I like to use a 3 point scale, knowing that the middle number covers a large range; this allows me to focus on the extremes, which are what interest me.
Well, very common is to use the visual analoge scale. So a range from 1 to 10.
I am doing my own experiment at the moment and I am noting from 0 to 1 representing the percentage scale.
so 60% goes for 0.6.
I chose this for calculation reasons. But I think any numerical scale would be fine.
I was uncertain, too, whether I would be exact in giving values to my overall wellness. But over time you get used to your scale, and I think you will improve and your data will get stable results.
So I think it would be reasonable just to start noting and then skip some of the first results. On the other hand, when you note for a long period of time statistics will remove the errors from the beginning.
See my threads, “statistical findings” for my approach.
I am also thinking about using sub scales. BTW, I am noting for rheumatic desease, so I could note lots of values for my different symptoms. So like pain, joint problems, tiredness and wellness. Combined to one super value.
Hope this will help you. But you could also describe your “project” in more detail. So we can see where the problems might hide.
While writing this: I have the idea of objectifying your measures. Perhaps you can quantify the amount of pain killers if you take some?!
Yes I like this idea. I will implement to my new project, too. Since I am using grouped data I stick most of the time to yes/no data. So: have taken pain killers yes/no.
Did you reflect on how to get your findings? statistical methods? This may have an impact on the way your data should look like. So in my case I am using cohen’s d effect size. That’s why i have to group my data in yes or no.
So I hope I gave you some new input for your project. And I am looking forward to read about your project soon.
To Gary’s point, you can pick any size scale, but until you have enough data you’ll be constantly re-establishing the thresholds for each value.
For example, if you feel “5/10” pain-wise on day 1, by day 100 you’ll have more values to compare and re-establish what a 5/10 (or any other value) means to you in relation to a larger set of data. So you may then need to go back to your original measures and adjust. So, to begin, you could could use, say, a 5 point scale and later convert it to a 10-point scale (just double the values of earlier measures) if you’d like a little more granularity.