About the Toolkit

The PhenX Toolkit (consensus measures for Phenotypes and eXposures) provides recommended standard data collection protocols for conducting biomedical research. The protocols are selected by Working Groups of domain experts using a consensus process, which includes the scientific community. The Toolkit provides detailed protocols for collecting data and tools to help investigators incorporate these protocols into their studies. Using protocols from the PhenX Toolkit facilitates cross-study analysis, potentially increasing the scientific impact of individual studies.

Conceptual Diagram

A PhenX domain is a field of research with a unifying theme and easily enumerated quantitative and qualitative measures (e.g., demographics, anthropometrics, organ systems, complex diseases, and lifestyle factors).


A collection of measures with a shared characteristic, target population or topic. The measures included in a Collection may cut across research domains.


A measure refers broadly to a standardized way of capturing data on a certain characteristic of, or relating to, a study subject.


A protocol is a standard procedure recommended by a Working Group for investigators to collect and record a measure.

Data Collection Worksheet (DCW)

The DCW identifies each data item required by a protocol. The DCW helps investigators integrate selected PhenX measures into their data collection instrument.

Data Dictionary (DD)

The DD lists each variable included in a protocol with its attributes, including variable names and unique identifiers. The organization, content, and electronic format of the DD fully support data submission to the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP).

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PhenX has been funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) since 2007. Current PhenX funding is as a Biomedical Knowledgebase (U24HG012556) with co-funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Office of the Director, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OD/OBSSR), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and supplemental funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In addition, prior funding for PhenX has been provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).