Step 1: Consult an index of tests categorized by topic
The library subscribes to two databases that provide information about tests. Both include indexing by subject and population, and both point to sources of more information. PsycTESTS usually includes the full text of the test, as well.
Step 2: Find an article or research study similar to your study that uses or describes a test on your topic
Find a research study that uses a measurement instrument to answer similar questions to yours; this will help you to identify specific test names.
- PsycINFO, for content in psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, and related fields [ Resource | Instructions ]
- CINAHL, for content in the health sciences [ Resource | Instructions ]
- ERIC, for content in education [ Resource | Instructions ]
- ProQuest Dissertations and Theses [ Resource | Instructions ]
Step 3: Consult a reference work that describes tests categorized by topic
The library owns several core reference works that organize tests by subject. Some reference books describe the tests, and others provide the text of the test as well as a description.
PsycTESTS, produced by the APA, provides detailed information about psychological tests and measurement instruments. Most of the entries contain the full text of the test itself. For the most part, the tests in PsycTESTS are "unpublished" tests that originally appeared in journal articles and were never released commercially.
You can search PsycTESTS by keyword, by test title or author, among many other options. If you'd like to find a test on a topic, simply type your topic terms in the search box and leave the dropbox at "Select a field (optional)". This will conduct the broadest search, including test title, subject, construct, and more. (If you would prefer a more focused initial search, change the drop-down to SU Subject or CB Construct.) You can add limits by Age Group, Permissions, and more.
While the majority of the entries in PsycTESTS include the full text of the test, not all do so. To limit to entries that include the test select "full text" as an option on either your search screen or on your list of results. The entries also include the affiliation and address for the author(s) so you might be able to get a copy of the test by contacting the author(s).
HaPI indexes journal articles, reference book chapters, and other sources that refer to tests and measurement instruments. For most entries, information is given on the variables the test addresses, the demographics of the populations the test has been used with, sample items, and more.
HaPI includes several kinds of documents. "Primary Source" documents are usually articles describing the test itself and its development or validation.
"Secondary source" articles are brief records of published studies that made use of a named test. HaPI's secondary source articles list the article using the test under "Source" and the original reference for the test itself under "References". The title, acronym, and authors given all refer to the test itself.
To find tests on a subject, enter your topic terms in the top box. Change the drop-down menu to SU Subject. Select Primary Source fromm the Source Code selection box. Click Search.
HaPI provides notations in each record describing the kind of sample studied. Categories include age group, mental or physical diagnosis, gender, ethnicity and/or nationality. If you'd like to limit to tests that have been used with a certain type of sample, enter the appropriate term in one of the boxes and change the drop-down to SA Sample.
If you don't get results, please consult the Index for sample terms to make sure your term is used in the database. Click Index at the top of the screen, then type a term (e.g, children, adolescents, african-american, epilepsy) to make sure the term is used in the database. Try different synonyms until you find one that has multiple entries. (Note that other types of information are mixed into the "sample" index.)
Once you find some test names that interest you, click MGetIt to access or request the article that includes the test. MGetIt does not always work properly with HaPI, so you may need to re-search for the actual article title (rather than the test name) as listed in Source or References.
If you see a notation that the test is available from BRMS, you can request that they send you a free copy. Contact information appears in the HaPI record.
PsycINFO provides information on many thousands of published research studies which have utilized testing instruments. Each PsycINFO record includes a list of tests mentioned in the article, indicating which instruments are included in the text of the article. Here's an example:
You can search PsycINFO to identify studies that investigate similar topics to yours; the list of tests utilized may help you to pinpoint appropriate instruments for your study or proposal.
To find studies that utilize tests, enter your topic or keywords in the top box. Type test* or measure* or survey* or questionnaire* or scale* in the second box, and change the drop-down to AB Abstract. You can use other limiters, such as Age Group or Population Group from the bottom portion of the Advanced Search screen. (To make your search more precise, use the PsycINFO Thesaurus to find the best subject terms, and search them using the SU Subjects dropdown.)
Click the title of any interesting article to see the full abstract and the list of tests used in the study.
Click the MGetIt button to access or request the article. To find more articles that use that test, search the test's title in the TM Tests & Measures field in PsycINFO, or search for the test in HaPI (above).
PsycINFO includes many thousands of articles reporting on the development and validation of tests and measurement instruments. These articles are given four-digit Classification Codes starting with 222 (e.g., 2220=Tests & Testing; 2223=Personality Scales & Inventories). If you limit your search to articles with that classification, the resulting articles will focus on the tests themselves (rather than a particular research study).
To find articles describing test in development, or validation studies, enter your topic or keywords in the top box. Type 22* in the second box, and change the drop-down to CC Classification Code. You can use other limiters, such as Age Group or Population Group from the bottom portion of the Advanced Search screen. (To make your search more precise, use the PsycINFO Thesaurus to find the best subject terms, and search them using the SU Subjects dropdown.)
PsycINFO indicates that for more than 2500 journal articles, the actual tests and measurement instruments are appended. These may be articles that describe the development or validation of the test, or they may be studies in which a test or measure was employed. Caveats: the "appended" notation was implemented in 2004, so very few earlier articles have that notation. Also, the "appended" notation is sometimes applied when only sample items are included, but the full test is not reproduced in the article.
To find an article with a testing instrument appended, try the following. Enter your topic or keywords in the top box. Enter the term appended in the next box, and change the drop-down to TM Tests & Measures. You can use other limiters, such as Age Group or Population Group from the bottom portion of the Advanced Search screen.
When you view a the full record for one of the results, you will see the list of tests utilized in the study listed in the TM Tests & Measures field. Look for the items that are appended, then get the full article by clicking the MGetIt button.
Researchers often utilize tests, questionnaires, and other research instruments during their studies. You can find studies with instruments measuring many topics of physical and mental health in CINAHL. In many cases, the instruments used will be listed in the Instrumentation field.
To find studies that utilize tests, enter your topic or keywords in the top box. Type test* or measure* or survey* or questionnaire* or scale* in the second box, and change the drop-down to AB Abstract.
You can add additional keywords to the third box, or use other limiters, such as Age Group or Sex from the bottom portion of the Advanced Search screen. (To make your search more precise, use the CINAHL Headings to find the best subject terms, and search them using the SU Subjects dropdown.) Example:
Click the title of any interesting article to see the full abstract and the list of tests used in the study.
Click the MGetIt button to access or request the article. To find more articles that use that test, search the test's title in the IN Instrumentation field in CINAHL, or search for the test in HaPI (above).
To find studies in which the test instrument is included, type your keywords in one box. Type "questionnaire/scale" in one box, and change the dropdown to PT Publication Type. Click Search.
In some cases, the full CINAHL record will list the tests included in the article:
In other cases, it will not. In all cases, click the MGetIt button to access or request the article.
To find articles and other materials describing research that uses tests, go to the Advanced Search in ERIC. Type your subject terms in one box. (You may wish to use the ERIC Thesaurus to identify the best terms; click Library Search, then Thesaurus to access this tool.)
Under More search options, scroll down and check the box for 160 Tests/questionnaires
You may limit your results to the level of education or even specific grade level of interest; use the Education Level menu below the search boxes.
In most cases, the name of the test or tests included will not be provided in the ERIC record. Read the abstract, and then click MGetIt to retrieve or request the item.
If the author of a dissertation has used a test in their research, they will usually include the text of the test as an appendix to the dissertation. Dissertation writers sometimes use existing tests created by others, and in other cases develop original tests.
To search for tests within dissertations, go to ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Select Advanced Search. In the top box, you have to search for the "test" concept to see if it appears in the appendix of the dissertation. (Otherwise, you would get many false hits by just searching for the test concept in the full text of the dissertation.) To do this search, type the following string in the next box, making sure that you are searching "All fields + text":
(test or measure or survey or questionnaire or scale) near/5 appendix*
Enter your topic terms in the second box. Change the drop-down to Abstract - AB to focus your results.
Next, check the tables of contents of the dissertations to see which tests were used. Most dissertations written since 1997 will be available to you in full text.
Tests & Measures in the Social Sciences is an index of all of the full-text tests included in more than 100 compendia (mostly books) containing tests. Topics covered include the social and health sciences. It was created by Helen Hough, librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington.
One approach: browse the list of books to see if there's a book that deals with your general topic (e.g., quality of life, sexuality, psychopathology, geriatrics). Browse the table of contents of that book to see the tests included. To see a list of all books included in this database simply search for the term TMdb and select the link for TMdb volume list.
Another approach: search across all of the tests in these books. Type your topic and the term TMdb into the search box. TBdb is an abbreviation for tests and measures database. See the example screenshots below.
Use the link for UT Arlington (host) web site to get to a customized Google search box.
There are several classic reference works that contain information on tests, organized by the topics or variables tested. These sets do not contain the full text of the tests, but they help you identify the test's name, intended population, method of administration, purpose and features, and author/publisher.
Tests: A comprehensive reference for assessments in psychology, education, and business (Pro-Ed) Vol. 1-8, 1983-2008
Directory of 2000+ commerical tests from over 150 publishers. Noncritically annotations include information on purpose, use, cost, availability, and intended audience. Older editions can be consulted for out-of-print tests.
Tests in Print (Buros Institute of Mental Measures) Vol. 2-7, 1974-2006
Directory of commercially published tests that are in print in English and available for purchase or use. Annotations are not critical and do not include any psychometric information. Includes a publishers directory, an index of names, a score index, an index of acronyms, a classified subject index, and an index of recently out-of-print tests. TIP serves as a comprehensive index to tests reviewed in all editions of the Mental Measurements Yearbook.
Directory of Unpublished Experimental Mental Measures (American Psychological Association) Vol. 1-8, 1974-2003
Multi-volume guide to copies of unpublished experimental mental measures that are found in approximately 35 important psychology journals. Instruments are not evaluated; but a brief description, reliability and validity data, the source, and related research information are provided. Measures are grouped in 23 categories. Includes cumulative title and subject indexes.
(These descriptions come from the Humboldt State Unversity Library's guide to Finding Psychological Tests and Measures.)