Evaluators often make key decisions about what content to include when designing new scales. However, without clear conceptual grounding, there is a risk these decisions may compromise the scale's validity. Techniques such as concept mapping are available to evaluators for the specification of conceptual frameworks, but have not been used as a fully integrated part of scale development. As part of a multi-site evaluation of family support programs, we integrated concept mapping with traditional scale-development processes to strengthen the creation of a scale for inclusion in an evaluation instrument. Using concept mapping, we engaged staff and managers in the development of a framework of intended benefits of program participation and used the information to systematically select the scale's content. The psychometric characteristics of the scale were then formally assessed using a sample of program participants. The implications of the approach for supporting construct validity, inclusion of staff and managers, and theory-driven evaluation are discussed. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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