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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Measurement Tools/Research Instruments

Tips on how to find information about research instruments such as questionnaires.

Scenario

You are an intern at a rehabilitation clinic of a major hospital under the supervision of the director of social services. You are assigned to do an intake and an evaluation of one of the patients assigned to you. Your patient is a 75-year-old woman who recently suffered a moderate stroke and has a heart condition. She appears solemn and depressed to you. You want to do a test of her mental condition. Your supervisor suggests using the Beck Depression Inventory. You are uncertain about administering the test to an elderly patient.

Where can you find a review of the Beck Depression Inventory?

Preliminary Questions

  • Do you know what you want to assess?
  • Do you know how to read a review?
  • Do you know the target population for the test?
  • Are the reviews favorable?
  • Are there instructions on how to administer the test?
  • How hard is it to get a copy? Are there costs?

Identify Specific Test

  • Do you have the name or title of a test?
  • Do you know what it is supposed to measure?

Locate Standard Review

  • Standard reviews are critical reviews of individual tests published by authoritative sources.
  • Critical reviews contain psychometric information about specific tests, such as test coverage and use, validity, reliability, normative data, test administration, test materials, scoring and reporting, cost and availability, etc.
  • Use one of these tools to locate a review:

Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY)

Detailed Description | Search Tips | Sample Pages [pdf]
The pre-eminent resource for critical reviews of commercially published tests in English.

Test Critiques

Detailed Description | Search Tips | Sample Pages [pdf]
An 11 volume set containing reviews of the most frequently used commercial psychological, educational, and business-related tests.

Test Reviews Online

Detailed Description | Search Tips 
Online database search for reviews of commercial educational and psychological tests.

Locate Other Reviews

  • For many tests, standard reviews are not always available.
  • However, other reviews might be available in the research literature.
  • The research literature generally contains references from journal articles or book chapters about cited tests.
  • The test information may include a description, a critique, an explanation of use, or the full-text of the test.
  • Each database varies as to what is included in each reference entry.

CINAHL Plus

Detailed Description | Search Tips  
Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)

Detailed Description | Search Tips  
Database covering education journals, reports, proceedings, and curriculum materials.

Nursing Reference Center

Detailed Description | Search Tips 
Point of care reference resource for nurses, including instrument descriptions.

PsycINFO

Detailed Description | Search Tips  
Database indexing the literature of psychology.

PsycTESTS

Detailed Description | Search Tips
Database focused on information regarding psychological tests.

PubMed

Detailed Description | Search Tips 
Database of the biomedical literature.

Sociological Abstracts

Detailed Description | Search Tips

Web of Science

Detailed Description | Search Tips 

Step 3: Match Review Against Selection Criteria

  • Read the reviews and determine whether the test is valid and appropriate for your intended use.
  • Use your selection criteria to determine the test appropriateness.
  • Use the following checklist as a guide.

Sample checklist
Test purpose/Intended use
Population/Age or grade level
Format/Number of items
Length of time
Validity
Reliability
Test materials
Instructions/Help
Specifications/Manuals
Scoring
Reporting
Related research/test usage studies
English language or translation

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