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Tests, Measures,and Assessments

A guide to measures, tests, and assessment instruments for the social sciences and education


Tests, measures, and assessments can be tricky to locate; this guide contains resources to help you find them. To find tests to use in your own research, you may search within the databases linked in the "Databases of Assessments" tab of this guide. Another strategy is to search for articles, theses, or dissertations that include or reference tests that the authors used. The "Finding Assessments in Articles, Theses, and Dissertations" tab contains links to sources of articles, etc. The library collection contains many books on finding, evaluating, and constructing tests, measures, and assessments, and the "Books..." tab  contains links to a selection of those. 

Also, check out the American Psychological Association’s (APA) frequently asked questions on how to find psychology tests. 

When you find an assessment that looks appropriate for your own research, there are a few things that you should consider:

  • Validity and Reliability -- The abstracts in PsycTests include information on a test's reliability & validity. Mental Measurement Yearbook with Tests in Print also contains test reviews. In addition, you can search for journal articles that discuss and describe tests in order to assess your chosen test's reliability and validity 
  • Previous use in populations similar to the one you are studying
  • Readability/Language.  Will your population understand the questions?
  • Length/Ease of use.  Are there too many questions?  Will it require use of special equipment?
  • Cost -- if the test is published
  • Training that may be required by a commercial test publisher, in order to gain access to the test
  • Getting permission to use the test -- if it's unpublished

"Published” tests are instruments that are available for purchase from commercial publishers. Published or commercial tests are often included in kits along with test forms, scoring instructions and manuals with information about test use, validity, and reliability. Sometimes commercial tests must be purchased in a quantity that matches the number of participants in the research project. The library does not collect commercial tests and cannot obtain commercial tests/test kits for individual researchers. Details about published tests can be found in the library assessment databases and often the publisher web address or contact information is included. 

"Unpublished tests“ are instruments that have been developed by researchers for their own projects and may not have undergone standardization studies. These tests may appear as appendixes to articles or within research articles or dissertations. The library databases do contain unpublished tests. It is important to get permission from the original authors before using unpublished tests though. Author contact information is often available in the library assessment databases. 

Permission to use a test

You are responsible for ensuring that you have permission to use or adapt a test, especially if you may want to publish your findings or present on your research in a public setting. Unless permission is explicitly stated, you should contact the authors or publisher, identify yourself, explain how you plan to use the test, and request permission.

Please use the Ask Us service to request assistance or contact the subject librarian if you have questions.

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