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Research Process

These pages offer an introduction to the research process at a very general level.

Tests and Measurements

If you are doing dissertation level research, you will also be collecting your own data using a test or measure designed to address the variables present in your research. Finding the right test or measure can sometimes be difficult. In some cases, tests are copyrighted and must be purchased from commercial publishers. In other cases instruments can be obtained for free directly from the authors or can be found within published articles (in the methods section or as an appendix). The Library can help you with obtaining publisher or author information along with test reviews, if they are available.

One important decision you will eventually face in the dissertation process is whether to use an existing instrument, to modify an instrument, or to create your own instrument from scratch. The latter two will require extensive testing and are not generally recommended. Whichever decision you make should be thought over carefully and discussed with your mentor or dissertation chair committee.

You will need to either purchase the test from a publisher or contact author(s) to obtain the test along with copyright permissions to use it in your research. When contacting an author for copyright permissions you will often send a permission letter. Examples of permission letters are included in the Permission Letters section below. 

For a video introduction, see the the Introduction to Tests and Measurements Workshop below.

Introduction to Tests & Measurements Workshop

This workshop provides an introduction to library resources which can be used to locate tests and measurements for dissertation research.

Searching for Tests and Measurements

When conducting a search, remember that different keywords yield different results. Consider these terms and add them to your search string when trying to locate tests or measurements: 

  • Survey 
  • Instrument 
  • Scale
  • Questionnaire 
  • Test
  • Measure 
  • Measurement 
  • Assessment 
  • Inventory

Roadrunner Search

Searching in Roadrunner 

The simplest way to discover instruments relevant to your dissertation research is to carefully read the "Methods" section in peer-reviewed journal articles. A dissertation will build on a field of study and you will be well served by understanding how the constructs you are interested in have been measured. For example, while exploring the topic of depression, read articles and take note of which depression inventories are used and why.

  1. Start by conducting a keyword search on your topic using Roadrunner Search, the central search box found on the Library's homepage. Roadrunner Search searches approximately 95% of our Library's database content, so it is a great starting point for any research topic.
  2. Use advanced search techniques covered in Searching 101 like subject searching, truncation, and Boolean operators to make your search more precise. You may also read about these search techniques by referring to the Preparing to Search section of our Research Process guide.
  3. Limit your results to scholarly/peer-reviewed articles. Enter keywords from your topic on the top one or two lines. Then, add a search string such as (survey OR instrument OR scale) on a separate line and limit this line to the AB Abstract of the article, as shown in the example below. You might also consider using these additional terms as part of your search: questionnaire, test, measurement, measure, assessment, inventoryRoadrunner Advanced Search showing an example search for test instruments

Library Databases

Searching in CINAHL

To search for tests or measurements in CINAHL, follow the below steps:

  1. Launch the CINAHL Subject Headings search by clicking on the link in the blue navigation bar.
  2. In the CINAHL Subject Headings search box, type Research Instruments and click Browse.     CINAHL Subject Search on Research Instruments
  3. Click on the Research Instruments heading link for a Tree View of this term. The Tree View includes broader and narrower terms related to this term.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CINAHL subject headings result list
  4. Under the Tree View for Research Instruments, click the + symbol to view content under narrower headings like Instrument by Name and Instrument by Type.                                                                                                                                                                                         CINAHL Tree View results for Research Instruments
  5. Identify a subject term that you would like to search, and check the box to the left of the term. Click Search Database. Note: Check the Explode (+) option to include any narrower subject terms under a specific heading.                                         CINAHL subject term search

Additional Search Strategies for Locating Tests and Measurements in CINAHL 

  • Use the IN Instrumentation field code in the Advanced Search to search using the name of a specific instrument, or to locate an instrument that contains a specific keyword term or phrase.                                   CINAHL Advanced Search with Instrumentation Field Code selected
  • Under Search Options, select Questionnaire/Scale or Research Instrument under the Publication Types filter. Questionnaire/Scale includes an actual questionnaire or scale in the source. Research Instrument includes information about a specific research instrument in the resource description. Once selected, enter keywords or phrases in the search box, and click Search.                                                                                CINAHL search page with Publication Type filter highlighted

Searching in ERIC 

To search for tests or measurements in ERIC, follow the below steps:

  1. Conduct a search for information about your topic by entering keywords in the search box. Click Search.ERIC search box with keyword terms
  2. On the search results page, use the filters on the left-hand side to limit your results. Select Tests/Questionnaires under Publication Type.

ERIC filter for Publication Type with Tests/Questionnaires limiter highlighted

In addition, the ERIC thesaurus entries list descriptors of tests and scales which may be used to construct a search. Select a broad category and continue narrowing down to your desired term. Click on Search collection using this descriptor to begin your search, as shown below.

Example of ERIC descriptor for Tests and Measurements with "Search collection using this descriptor" highlighted

For additional information, see our ERIC Quick Tutorial Video.

Searching in ETS TestLink

To locate tests and measurements in ETS TestLink, follow the below steps:

  1. Click on Search the Test Link database link when accessing ETS TestLink. This landing page also includes additional information and tips for navigating this database.ETS landing page with Search the Test Link database link highlighted
  2. You will be redirected to a Basic Search box. Enter keywords or key phrases related to your topic. You will be redirected to a results page after hitting search. You can combine additional terms and search different fields such as Author, Subject and Year among others by using the Advanced Search tab.  ETS Basic Search box with example keyword phrase "project management"
  3. In order to access content for a particular search result, click the record link and review the Availability field under the Content, Media, Carrier section. See below example. Note: Not all records may list an Access URL under the Website field, so as a result, you may need to refer to the contact details outlined in the Availability field. In this case, you may need to either purchase the test from a publisher or contact the author(s) directly in order to obtain a copy of the instrument along with copyright permissions to use it in your research.ETS TestLink search result record showing Availabilityand Access fields under Content, Media, Carrier Section

For additional information, see our ETS TestLink Quick Tutorial Video.

Searching in Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HAPI)

To locate tests and measurements in HAPI, follow the below steps:

  1. Use the Basic Search box to enter a keyword, or click on the Advanced Search link to enter additional keyword terms or phrases. Click Search to view results.                                                     Health and Psychosocial Instruments database search box
  2. HAPI includes access to full-text content as well as bibliographic information for sources. To limit results to full-text content, place a check mark on Linked Full Text under Limit To. Click on the blue link for a search result to view the Detailed Record and access the PDF Full-Text for the source, if available.HAPI Search Results page with Linked Full Text filter highlighted

Searching in Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print

Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print (MMY with TiP) offers test reviews that are written by experts and contain descriptions of tests and commentary on their psychometric adequacy (Cone & Foster, 2006, pg. 170). You can use MMY with TiP to (1) obtain contact information for an author or publisher, and (2) read descriptive information on the measure of interest. Note that you will need to either purchase the test from the publisher directly, or contact author(s) to obtain the test along with copyright permissions to use it in your research.

To locate tests and measurements in Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print, follow the below steps:

  1. Use the Basic Search box to enter a keyword, or click on the Advanced Search link to enter additional keyword terms or phrases. Click Search to view results.                                 Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print Advanced Search screen
  2. Click on a search result to obtain relevant information about the test or measurement, including Publisher Information, Purpose, Population, Time for completion, and Price Data among other details. A detailed review and summary of the test or measurement will also be provided. This link provides a sample search result from MMY with TiP.

Searching in PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES

To locate tests and measurements in PsycINFO or PsycARTICLES, follow the below steps:

  1. Use PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES to locate studies and published articles relevant to your research. Use the Basic Search box to enter a keyword, or click on the Advanced Search link to enter additional keyword terms or phrases. Click Search to view results.                      PsycINFO Advanced Search example
  2. Click on the blue link for a search result to view the Detailed Record.PsycARTICLES search result
  3. On the Detailed Record for that result, scroll down to the Tests & Measures section.Detailed Record in PsycArticles
  4. The Tests & Measures section will list a series of tests and measurements referenced in the article.                                                                          Test and Measure section of the Detailed Record in PsycArticles

Searching in PsycTESTS

To locate tests and measurements in PsycTESTS, follow the below steps:

  1. Use the Basic Search box to enter a keyword, or click on the Advanced Search link to enter additional keyword terms or phrases. Click Search to view results.PsycTESTS basic search example
  2. Click on the blue link for a search result to view the Detailed Record and access the PDF Full-Text for the source, if available. PsycTESTS search results page
  3. Under the Detailed Record, scroll down and pay particular attention to the Permissions and Fee sections.Detailed Record in PsycTESTS
  4. The Permissions and Fee sections will include information regarding the use of the test and whether purchase is required.Permissions and Fee sections of the Detailed Record in PsycTESTS
  5. Additional examples of the Permissions and Fee sections that may appear in records are included below:                                                                    Permissions and Fee sections of Detailed Record in PsycTESTSPermissions and Fee sections of Detailed Record in PsycTESTS

Searching in PubMed

To locate tests and measurements in PubMed, use the following strategies:

  1. Search PubMed by entering the name of a specific test or measurement in the search box. Basic search for name of test or measurement in PubMed
  2. Add any of the following MESH subject headings to your topic search string to locate relevant tests or measurements: 
  • "Research Design"[Mesh]
  • "Surveys and Questionnaires"[Mesh]
  • "Personality Inventory"[Mesh]
  • "Test Anxiety Scale"[Mesh]
  • "Health Care Surveys"[Mesh]
  • "Nutrition Surveys"[Mesh]
  • "Health Surveys"[Mesh]
  • "Dental Health Surveys"[Mesh]
  • "Diet Surveys"[Mesh]
  • "Behavior Rating Scale"[Mesh]
  • "Patient Health Questionnaire"[Mesh]

Below are example search strings incorporating the use of these MESH subject headings:

  • "eating disorder" AND "Surveys and Questionnaires"[Mesh]
  • depression AND "Patient Health Questionnaire"[Mesh] 
  • anxiety AND "Personality Inventory"[Mesh] 

For additional information, see the PubMed Quick Tours Videos.

Searching in ScienceDirect 

Use ScienceDirect to locate tests and measurements used in studies and published articles relevant to your topic. Add any of the following keywords to your search string: 

  • Survey 
  • Instrument 
  • Scale
  • Questionnaire 
  • Test
  • Measure 
  • Measurement 
  • Assessment 
  • Inventory

For additional information, see our ScienceDirect Quick Tutorial Video.

Searching in Web of Knowledge

Use Web of Knowledge to locate tests and measurements used in studies and published articles relevant to your topic. Add any of the following keywords to your search string: 

  • Survey 
  • Instrument 
  • Scale
  • Questionnaire 
  • Test
  • Measure 
  • Measurement 
  • Assessment 
  • Inventory

For additional information, see the Web of Science Training Portal.

Searching in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

Locate tests and measurements in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses by using the following strategies:

  • Search for related graduate and doctoral-level research that has already been conducted on your topic. Similar studies may have employed a relevant test or measurement.

  • Check a dissertation's Abstract to see if the author mentions administering or designing a measurement tool. If a measurement is mentioned, it is likely that a reprint of the measure will appear in the appendix of the dissertation. This example shows that the author references a test or measurement in the Abstract:Abstract/Detail of a resource in ProQuest Dissertation and Theses Global with test/measurement used by the author highlighted in the description

For additional information, see our ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Quick Tutorial Video.

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Internet Search

Lastly, you might try searching for a test or measurement or information about them on the Internet. Google is an excellent search engine for finding information on test instruments. To find information about a particular test or measurement on Google, type the name of the test or measurement into the empty search field and place it in quotes:

Google search screen with an example search for "beck depression inventory."

Selected Resources

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