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Tests, Measures,and Assessments

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

Introduction

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 will be using 
  • Readability/Language.  Will your population understand the questions?
  • Length/Ease of use.  Are there too many questions?  Will it require use of special equipment or going to a different location?
  • Cost, if any, if the test is published.
  • Getting permission, if the test is unpublished.

A “published” test refers to an instrument that is available for purchase from a commercial publisher. A test usually consists of a kit that includes test forms, scoring instructions and a manual with information about the test’s development, uses and its validity and reliability.

“Unpublished” test refers to instruments that are quite often developed by researchers for particular projects and may not have undergone strenuous standardization studies. The tests may appear as appendices to an article or within a scholarly article or dissertation. For these you will need to ask for permission.

Permission to use a test

You are responsible for ensuring that you have permission to use a test in your research, especially if you may want to publish your findings or present them in a public setting. To use or adapt tests or instruments, contact the author or publisher, identify yourself and your affiliation, and explain how you plan to use the test.

Please use the Ask Us service to request assistance by phone or e-mail or contact the subject librarian if you have questions.

Research methods background information

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