For today’s post, we’ll focus on a frequent question we receive in the library: How do I locate sample studies which use the test/measure/scale I plan to use?
Great question! Many students are interested in discovering samples of how a certain measure has been employed previously to give themselves a sense of how they might use it in their own research.
…but where do you even begin?
Here are a few suggestions to get you on the right track:
The PsycINFO database has an amazing search option called….(drumroll)…’Look-up Tests & Measures’. (Disclaimer: Even though ‘psyc’ is in the title, tons of subject matter is included!) You can locate this handy feature under the ‘Search Options’ header on the advanced search page:
So, what can you do with it? When you follow this link a pop-up window will open in the center of your screen. Here, you can either search for a specific test/measure, or you can search for tests which have a particular word/words in the title. We’ll take a look at how to search for a specific test, but you can employ the exact same technique to discover tests with certain words in the title.
Let’s say I’m getting ready to conduct some research, but would like to see sample studies which have used an ‘anger management scale’. Once I’ve followed the ‘look up’ link, I will search for tests which contain ‘anger management’ in their title like so:
From here, I can scroll through the test titles, check the box next to any I would like to include in my search, and press ‘Add to search’ when I am finished.
Once you do so, the ‘look up test and measure’ search box will automatically be populated with the test name(s). Now, without doing anything else, you can just press the ‘search’ button to look at all the matching documents. (Of course, if you wanted, you could add in search terms to make the sample studies even more specific):
After pressing search, my results list will show those documents which employed the ‘anger management scale’ . Of course, it’s possible (and likely) that these documents will have used multiple tests and measures.
If you ever want to see every test used in a particular study in PsycINFO, simply click on the ‘citation/abstract’ link below the title. Then, scroll down to view the indexing details for that document:
Okay, okay, but what if you not only want to find a sample study, but you want to find the actual test/measure/scale used? This is certainly a bit trickier. It’s important to know that while you may readily find some tests/measures, other times the only way to obtain the official test/scoring mechanism is to purchase it. But we’ll offer some suggestions to get you started!
Finding the actual test/measure
As luck should have it, in addition to the PsycINFO database, we also have one called PsycTESTS. Here, you can search for a particular test in hopes of seeing not only how it was developed, but of seeing its full-text as well.
Here are some sample results from a search I did for “anger management”:
As you can see, some results are test ‘summaries’ while others include the test itself. It’s always worth exploring these results to see if you find any good matches.
ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
Know what studies pretty universally include copies of their test instruments? Dissertations! Most dissertations/theses included appendices which have full-text copies of survey or interview questions, measuring scales, etc. Searching in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database is a wonderful way to locate such items.
You could search for keywords specifically related to your topic; the name of a test or measure; or you could combine those strategies as I’ve done in the example below. In this case, I searched for the phrase “anger management” and for a keyword related to a scale.
Of course, like any research, it may take some sample searches and revisions to land on the combination that yields the best results.
There’s a lot more to learn about tests and measures! Be sure to check out the other Fielding resources on this topic. The Clinical Psych LibGuide contains a page (including a powerpoint) on tests. You can check it out here. We’ve also created some mini-tutorials on using PsycINFO which are available on the Quick Tip Videos page of this blog.
Of course, you can always get in touch with the library for more assistance. Now go test out these techniques!