To identify and evaluate the reliability and quality of educational materials provided to individuals with schizophrenia and their carers. Materials used by mental health professionals working in community and in-patient settings were collated. Two independent raters used the ‘Discern’ questionnaire to assess the publications.
Fifteen documents were identified, but only 11 were suitable for evaluation. Interrater reliability of ratings using the Discern tool was highly significant. No educational package scored maximum marks, but four scored in the good quality range. About a fifth of the materials in widespread use were assessed as of poor quality.
The use of a rating instrument to assess the quality of educational publications appears to be a reliable and acceptable way to identify the strengths and weaknesses of widely available materials. Staff can use these data to assess the quality of their preferred materials against other publications and make an informed selection.