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Finding Survey Instruments, Measurement Tools, and Questionnaires

Tips on how to find information about research instruments such as screenings and questionnaires.

Before You Start

Here are some things you will need to consider before starting to search for measurement instruments.

Published vs. Unpublished Tests
Published tests or measurements are available for purchase from the test publisher. Certification or permission from the publisher and author(s) may be required to administer these tests.

Unpublished tests or measurements are not available commercially but may be included in articles, studies and dissertations. These tests are also under copyright and you should request permission to use these tests by contacting the author(s).

Be Patient
Finding a test or measurement instrument can be challenging at times and requires patience. You will likely need to consult several different resources, online databases and books but don't give up. The resources in this guide are meant to guide you through this process. If you need additional help, please contact the CORE Library.

 

Remember...

Always get permission from a test's author before using the test. 

Databases for Finding Information about Tests

The CORE Library has several databases that can help you locate information about the reliability and validity of tests and screening instruments.

Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI)

1985-present, with many earlier measures. HaPI indexes the use of tests and measurement instruments (i.e., questionnaires, interview schedules, checklists, index measures, coding schemes/manuals, rating scales, projective techniques, vignettes/scenarios, tests) in journal literature in a variety of fields including public health, nursing, psychology, human resources, sociology, and communication. Records are indexed according to the MeSH subject headings and the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms (Ref1 Desk Z695.1 P7 T48 2004).

 

Steps and Tips for Searching

  • To find only those articles that contain the actual instrument, limit by checking the "Primary Source" box.
  • To search by author name, enter the author's last name and first initial in the search box, and then click the author icon above; you will be taken to a list of author names, where you can select all that are appropriate to your search.
  • In some cases, you can order more information or the instrument itself by contacting the Behavioral Measurement Database Services at bmdshapi@aol.com; materials available through this method will contain a note within the abstract.

PsycINFO

An index of publications that the APA examines regularly to identify psychologically relevant material, including journal articles, dissertations, reports, English-language book chapters and books, and other scholarly documents. The TM field ["tests and measures" field] contains the names of published tests and measures mentioned in the source document. This field may contain multiple tests or measures.

 

Steps and Tips for Searching

  • From the main PsycINFO search page, enter a word or phrase in the text entry box above the drop-down menu (e.g. "bereavement").
  • Then select "Tests & Measures" in the drop-down menu under the search box (the default setting is "Any Field"; change this to "Tests & Measures"). 
  • Click on "Search."
  • The resulting set of documents will all contain the word or phrase searched in the Tests and Measures field of each record.

CINAHL

An index of the literature of nursing and the allied health professions. Sometimes, a search of CINAHL turns up an article in which the test or survey instrument is not only mentioned, but re-printed. If the instrument itself is indexed in CINAHL Plus it will have the Publication Type "research instrument" (e.g., Brief Pain Inventory). Similarly, one can perform a search and Limit to the Publication Type "research instrument." The Instrumentation (IT) field in a record includes the names of instruments used in research studies indexed by CINAHL. To search for articles with instrument names, enter the most unique word or phrase in the name.  For example, search: pain in the Instrumentation field.

 

Steps and Tips for Searching

  • From the CINAHL Plus main search page, type a word or phrase into the text box, then use the dropdown menu to specify the "IN Instrumentation" field.
  • Click on "Search."
  • The resulting set of documents will all contain the word or phrase searched in the Instrumentation field of each record.

Locating the Full Text of a Screening or Measurement Instrument

Commercially-published tests:

 

For unpublished tests:

  • Verify the test name in the ETS Test Link or PubMed.
  • To locate the full text, try searching CINAHL, PsycINFO, ERIC, or PubMed.
  • to identify journal articles or library catalogs to locate books and dissertations, which may include the full-text of some instruments. Or try Google, as some tests may appear on the Internet.
  • If no full-text is available, contact the author who created the test.  Author information can be found in the ETS Test Link or a quick Google search.

 

MeSH Headings

Medical subject headings (MeSH) can be helpful when refining and focusing a search for tests and instruments, as the MeSH use a controlled, standard vocabulary for terms.​

  • Add a MeSH Heading to the search using AND
    • example: physical activity AND (MH "Questionnaires")
  • Use the Suggested MeSH Terms box, located at the right of search results, to find terms. Each term is defined so you can find the one that best fits your topic. A few examples are listed below:
    • Questionnaires
    • Psychological tests
    • Psychometrics
    • Process assessment (health care)
    • Outcome and process assessment (health care)
    • Aptitude tests
    • Language tests
    • Neuropsychological tests
    • Personality tests
    • Patient outcome assessment 

Ethics and Responsible Use of Tests

Test Finders