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Michigan State University

Tests and Testing Information: Introduction/Finding Articles

A guide to research instruments--it's complicated, don't hesitate to ask for help.

Published or Unpublished?

In the world of assessment the words "published" and "unpublished" have a special meaning.


-Published tests are those available from commercial publishers.
-Use of published tests is highly restricted.
-In most cases users are required to contact the publisher or author of a test instrument to obtain a copy of the test or to obtain permission to use the test.


-Unpublished tests are not commercially available.
-Tests that are not sold commercially can be difficult to locate.
-Obtain a copy from the individual author, either directly, or printed as part of a book, article or research report.
-Tests found in this way can be incorporated into academic reports such as term papers, provided proper credit is given.
-Administering an unpublished test requires dealing with possible copyright restrictions. Contact the author for permission.

Searching for a Specific Instrument

  • PsycTESTS
    A new research database from the American Psychological Association that provides access to psychological tests, measures, scales, surveys, and other assessments as well as descriptive information about the test, its development and administration.
  • Buros Institute of Mental Measurements publishes two MSU subscription database
    Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print
    Buros Institute publications provide information about commercially published tests.  The web site offers Test Reviews Online, which duplicative of MMY but will not show the reviews without a fee. They do offer some free information including professional codes of conduct.

  • Child Care and Early Education Research Connection -- Instruments and Measures
    Research Connections indexes a variety of data collection instruments and measures relevant to child care and early education research. Instruments are from both qualitative and quantitative studies.
  • Educational Testing Service (ETS)
    Educational Testing Service administers the SAT, GRE and other similar admissions and placement tests.  ETS maintains an extensive test library and has an online test collection search feature.

  • SDSU Test Finder
    A tool that does "deep indexing" of books that may only include one or two instruments. Another part of the site indexes complete tests and instruments found in the journal literature. Along with the psychology journal literature it also indexes journal articles from nursing, social work, sociology, education, communication, and management.

Articles About Specific Instruments

Journal articles about research studies frequently discuss the instruments used in the study.  Search these indexes to retrieve information about any type of instrument.

  • Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI)
    Features material on information-gathering tools for clinicians that are discussed in journal articles — such as questionnaires, interview schedules, tests, checklists. The database contains citations to actual test documents; citations to journal articles which contain information about specific test instruments; and a catalog of commercial test publishers and their available instruments.
  • PsycINFO
    Indexes journal articles, dissertations, technical reports, and chapters and books in psychology and related disciplines. Some of the items indexed will include instruments. For those searching for a particular instrument, there is a field called "Tests and Measures." Find it in the limits area of the Advanced search screen, or simply include the instument name in a search.
  • ERIC
    Covers the journal and research literature in education. Both of these sources contain some instruments, which ERIC generally notes by title in the abstract. There is also a "Publication Type" field that can be used to limit to, "Tests/Questionnaires."
  • Medline
    The National Library of Medicine's premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. Abstracts will generally provide information about any instruments used in the study.
  • CINAHL  (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature)
    It provides access to nearly 900 nursing, allied health, biomedical, and consumer health journals going back to 1982. Also included are books, dissertations, standards of professional practice, and educational software. There is "Publication Type" field for "Questionnaire/Scale" to find measures.