Throwback Thursday: Free Samples!

This Thursday, we look back to a post from last year with guidance on how to find sample survey instruments, interview questions, and more. Enjoy!!

Free hugs

Image by Matthew G. CC license here.

Okay, you caught me…the library is not giving out free hugs (although after how busy Summer Session was perhaps it’s not a bad idea).

This ‘free samples’ post actually refers to finding sample survey instruments, interview questions, questionnaires, and so on.  A post we did not too long ago, Test It Out, covered some of the key steps in finding studies which employed certain tests or measures (hooray!).  But today’s post focuses on a way to find actual survey and interview questions…which can be a bit tricky.

As you probably know, scholarly articles do not typically publish appendices revealing the survey/interview questions used in obtaining results.  So what do you do when your advisor directs you to “find some sample questions” other academics have used?

Laptop on fire

Image by Chris Pawluk. CC license here.

First, you resist the urge to set fire to your laptop.  Second, you cruise on over to the Fielding library website and connect to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global database (by following the ‘databases’ link on the main library website).

While most scholarly articles do not include the full-text of their survey instruments, dissertations and theses do!  That’s right, as you are well aware, graduate and doctoral students must meticulously account for how and why they achieved the results of their studies. Lucky for you, this means the appendices of these documents are a gold-mine of sample measures.  Let’s head on over to the database to take a look at how this works.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global

When you connect to the database, you will land on the familiar blank advanced search screen.  If you’ve connected to this database with the intention of finding sample questions–or just sample studies which employ a certain method (i.e. phenomenology, case study, etc.)–the best way to accomplish this goal is to search using a term or two describing your topic and a term describing the type of measure/study you hope to find.

Let’s imagine I’m doing some research into organizational cultures and need to find some sample interview questions.  I may build my search like so:

dissinterviews

Click image to enlarge.

Though quite basic, I’ve asked the database to look for the phrase “organizational culture” and the keyword ‘interviews’ anywhere except for in the full-text of the document.  Since the dissertation’s abstract will include a piece about the methodology used, this is a fairly reliable method to employ to find the samples you need.  Here are the first few results this search retrieved (**note, I blacked out the author/institution names since I could not ask for permission to display them):

sample results page

Click image to enlarge.

As you can see underlined in red, each of these works’ abstracts has a portion which explains interviews were used (at least in some capacity) to obtain some data.  From here, I could preview abstracts, select a relevant document, then open the PDF to view the appendix which would contain a copy of the questions employed.

Your particular research topic is likely more specific that just ‘organizational culture’ so remember you can use multiple terms to refine your search.  Let’s do one slightly more refined sample search together for good ‘measure’ (pun intended).

In this case, let’s imagine my research focuses on the use of social media by teenagers and I plan to conduct a case study. I might build my search like so:

screenshot of case study search

Click image to enlarge

Not sure about all that fancy syntax?  Make sure to check out the search tip handout on the ‘Quick Tip Docs’ page for explanations.

In essence, that search asks the database to find the phrase “social media”, to find any one of those terms describing teens or youth or adolescent, and to find the phrase “case study”.  This yielded 17 results total, here’s a sampling:

sample of results page

Click image to enlarge.

And there you have it.  Just another trick to have up your sleeve as you work on your own research.  Hopefully this means that next time you’re asked to find some samples you’ll react like this…

man crossing finish line

Image by meridican. CC license here.

Happy searching!  And remember you can always contact the library with questions (library@fielding.edu).

Free Samples!

Free hugs

Image by Matthew G. CC license here.

Okay, you caught me…the library is not giving out free hugs (although after how busy Summer Session was perhaps it’s not a bad idea).

This ‘free samples’ post actually refers to finding sample survey instruments, interview questions, questionnaires, and so on.  A post we did not too long ago, Test It Out, covered some of the key steps in finding studies which employed certain tests or measures (hooray!).  But today’s post focuses on a way to find actual survey and interview questions…which can be a bit tricky.

As you probably know, scholarly articles do not typically publish appendices revealing the survey/interview questions used in obtaining results.  So what do you do when your advisor directs you to “find some sample questions” other academics have used?

Laptop on fire

Image by Chris Pawluk. CC license here.

First, you resist the urge to set fire to your laptop.  Second, you cruise on over to the Fielding library website and connect to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global database (by following the ‘databases’ link on the main library website).

While most scholarly articles do not include the full-text of their survey instruments, dissertations and theses do!  That’s right, as you are well aware, graduate and doctoral students must meticulously account for how and why they achieved the results of their studies. Lucky for you, this means the appendices of these documents are a gold-mine of sample measures.  Let’s head on over to the database to take a look at how this works.

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global

When you connect to the database, you will land on the familiar blank advanced search screen.  If you’ve connected to this database with the intention of finding sample questions–or just sample studies which employ a certain method (i.e. phenomenology, case study, etc.)–the best way to accomplish this goal is to search using a term or two describing your topic and a term describing the type of measure/study you hope to find.

Let’s imagine I’m doing some research into organizational cultures and need to find some sample interview questions.  I may build my search like so:

dissinterviews

Click image to enlarge.

 

Though quite basic, I’ve asked the database to look for the phrase “organizational culture” and the keyword ‘interviews’ anywhere except for in the full-text of the document.  Since the dissertation’s abstract will include a piece about the methodology used, this is a fairly reliable method to employ to find the samples you need.  Here are the first few results this search retrieved (**note, I blacked out the author/institution names since I could not ask for permission to display them):

sample results page

Click image to enlarge.

 

As you can see underlined in red, each of these works’ abstracts has a portion which explains interviews were used (at least in some capacity) to obtain some data.  From here, I could preview abstracts, select a relevant document, then open the PDF to view the appendix which would contain a copy of the questions employed.

Your particular research topic is likely more specific that just ‘organizational culture’ so remember you can use multiple terms to refine your search.  Let’s do one slightly more refined sample search together for good ‘measure’ (pun intended).

In this case, let’s imagine my research focuses on the use of social media by teenagers and I plan to conduct a case study. I might build my search like so:

screenshot of case study search

Click image to enlarge

Not sure about all that fancy syntax?  Make sure to check out the search tip handout on the ‘Quick Tip Docs’ page for explanations.

In essence, that search asks the database to find the phrase “social media”, to find any one of those terms describing teens or youth or adolescent, and to find the phrase “case study”.  This yielded 17 results total, here’s a sampling:

sample of results page

Click image to enlarge.

 

And there you have it.  Just another trick to have up your sleeve as you work on your own research.  Hopefully this means that next time you’re asked to find some samples you’ll react like this…

man crossing finish line

Image by meridican. CC license here.

Happy searching!  And remember you can always contact the library with questions (library@fielding.edu).

Test It Out!

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?

Maze (미로)

Image by Seongbin Im. CC license here.

Here are a few suggestions to get you on the right track:

PsycINFO

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:

lookup

 

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.

Known Test

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:

anger

 

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):

search page

 

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:

indexing

 

 

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

PsycTESTS

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”:

anger2

 

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.

anger3

 

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!