Background: Single-item measures of constructs are parsimonious alternatives to multiple-item measures in many types of research. Before selecting a particular instrument, researchers must first determine whether to use a multi-item or single-item instrument to measure the concept to be evaluated. Currently, single-item measures are widely used for both pain and job satisfaction research. Objective: To review theoretical and empirical studies of single-item measures, with an emphasis on graphic representational (faces) scales. Methods: In this review, theoretical considerations, reliability, validity issues, and comparisons between single- and multiple-item measures are discussed. Faces scales are emphasized as an economical method for assessing such affective responses as pain and job satisfaction. Results: Single-item measures in general, and faces scales in particular, can be valid and reliable measures for global concepts. Conclusions: Because of their ease of administration, lessened respondent burden, rc; and global concept representation, single-item measures have great potential for various types of research. Nurse researchers should seriously consider single-item measures as part of their methodological research "toolkit.".