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Measures and Surveys and Scales, Oh My! - Finding Assessment Tools: PsycINFO: Not Just for Literature Searches

This guide will help dissertation students locate measuring instruments and psychometric information about them. The term, test, is used when referring to any type of instrument or tool, including measure, survey, questionnaire, scale, and interview.

Exploring Tests in Previous Research

PsycINFO is an ideal database for discovering tests that have been used in research. Before or after conducting a search (keyword or Thesaurus subject) on your topic, apply the Empirical Study limiter. Either scroll down the green Search Options bar, or click Search Options on the left side of the Results page. In Methodology, select EMPIRICAL STUDY and click Search.


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All the results will be studies conducted by scientific method, and many will name the specific tests used:

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To see the test titles, open the full article’s full record by clicking its title link. Scroll down to the Tests & Measures section for the test titles:


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Using the Tests & Measures Index

After determining some tests that interest you, use the Tests & Measures Index to find more research using them, and possibly their full text. On the PsycINFO main searching page, click the Indexes tab:

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Use the pull-down menu to select Tests & Measures:



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Type the title or first word(s) of a test you’re looking for, then click the Browse button:



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Check the box for any tests you want to search, then click the Search button. The number of articles in PsycINFO for each is listed in the right column under “Records Count”. (Keep in mind that a test will often have variant titles, so you may want to search all the variants you suspect refer to the same test.):



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The search results list all articles that report on empirical studies that used a specific test:

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To confirm that a study indeed used the test, click any article title to open its full record in PsycINFO. Scroll down until you see the Tests & Measures section. It lists all the tests that were used in the study:



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Finding the Full Text of Tests

There are several techniques for finding actual test questions. One is to locate the first article that discussed the development of the test. Once you learn the test author’s name, you can look for it in references lists of articles reporting on studies that used the test. You can also search for all articles in PsycINFO written by that author and browse through some of the older ones.

 

Another strategy for finding test questions is to add the word appended to your search, which retrieves articles that contain the full text of a test. Simply type appended in a search box, and select the Tests & Measures field from the pull-down menu:

 

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The search above retrieves over 1,000 articles or books that include the full text of a test. Unfortunately, not all articles are available full text via PsycINFO. (Remember to do a Journal Title Search in the Library catalog! If a journal is not available, then request the article via Interlibrary Loan.)

 

The “appended” strategy can be used together with any kind of search. For example, the Thesaurus search below retrieved several articles with the full text of occupational stress tests:

 

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To determine which tests are available in full text, click the article title to open its full record:

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Scroll down to the Tests & Measures section. This article contains the Maslach Burnout Inventory- Student Survey:

 

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To find the test full text, click the PDF or HTML links to download the article, then look at the end in the Appendix. (Sometimes test questions are located in Tables inside articles, so check there too.).