A frame of reference is needed to increase the comparability of vocational rehabilitation assessment instruments and the interpretation of their results. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF
) is a relevant framework, and when linking rules are used, items from existing assessment instruments can be linked to the appropriate categories as described in the ICF
To develop an adapted linking methodology in which experts are involved by means of the application of consensus methods and to transfer this result in a step-by-step set of guidelines, supporting researchers and professionals, linking complex instruments to the ICF
The main researcher developed the initial linking of the Integration von Menschen mit Behinderungen in die Arbeitswelt (IMBA
) to the ICF
by rigorously applying the refined ICF
linking rules. To validate this linking, the Delphi and nominal group technique was integrated through different steps, and experts were involved in the process. The method section describes the linking process chronologically with focuses on the used approach, the involvement of experts, and the processing of the output.
The results are presented in a 7-step set of guidelines describing the chronological process from the initial to the validated linking. These guidelines describe the core elements in the application of the linking rules and consensus methods in a manual for researchers who are interested in linking complex instruments to the ICF
by involving experts.
The Delphi and nominal group technique can be successfully integrated in the linking process, making it possible to involve experts in linking complex instruments to the ICF
. A homogeneous composition of the expert panel in terms of knowledge, a heterogeneous composition in terms of setting, a rigorous and repeated application of the linking rules, and structured processing of the output are essential to achieve a valid linking.