Behavioral Research Methods Core Facility

Thomas Atkinson (Core Facility Head)


The mission of the Behavioral Research Methods (BRM) Core Facility is to assist Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center investigators with the design, implementation and execution of research involving survey, interview, and other behavioral sciences research methods. The BRM Core provides support to clinical and population-based investigators seeking to incorporate psychosocial, behavioral, and quality of life research methods in their work. All Core users receive technical assistance at various stages of research, including protocol development, staff training, sample acquisition, data analysis and interpretation, and dissemination. Services are tailored and scaled to the needs of investigator teams and the scope of their projects. Specifically, the BRM Core assists investigators by providing the following consulting services:

Research Design

  • Selection of psychometrically sound assessment tools, including both qualitative and quantitative patient-reported outcomes (PRO) measures.
  • Focused critical reviews and synthesis of published literature on chosen topics.
  • Incorporation of research methodologies consistent with “best practices” in psychosocial and behavioral oncology.
  • Specialized methodological guidance for research on minority populations in clinical trials and population-based research.
  • Mandatory review of institution-wide behavioral and quality of life protocols under development.


  • Staff training and troubleshooting with regard to survey administration, structured interviewing and other PRO data collection methods.
  • Collection of qualitative data using strategies such as focus groups and semi-structured patient interviews.


  • Efficient and reliable scoring, analysis and interpretation of quantitative PRO measurement tools commonly used in behavioral oncology research.
  • Psychometric evaluation and pre-testing of new psychosocial instruments developed by investigators.
  • Coding and analysis of qualitative data consistent with state-of-the art qualitative methods research practices.