PsycTESTS — a great portal to full-text tests, measures, and scales

The PsycTESTS database is a great resource for researchers looking for full-text tests and measures and more information about them. While ‘Psyc’ might be in the name, this an excellent tool for students from all programs, offering access to tests/measurements/scales related to everything from political attitudes to racial bias to career aspirations.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of searching in PsycTESTs and try to answer the dreaded ‘what if full text is unavailable?’ question.

My Nielsen Questionnaire

Photo by Joe Gratz. CC license.

Basic Searching

You can connect to PsycTESTS from the ‘Databases’ link on the library homepage.  As with most databases, you can search for tests/measures containing certain keywords by entering a term or two into the search box. *Note: you can choose how you would like your results sorted on the search page:

Screenshot of search page

 

You can then choose to scroll through results or use the filters on the left side of the screen to refine the search further.  If a record includes a copy of the instrument itself you will see a ‘Test’ link accompanied by a PDF icon.  Click on ‘Test’ to open the PDF copy:

Screenshot of 'test' icon

No ‘Test’ Link Available?

Many researchers feel a sense of dread when there is no full-text link available for the measurement they seek.  However, PsycTESTS includes information that can often easily lead you to the measurement you need.  We’ll outline some simple steps to follow.

For this example, let’s imagine you want to access the ‘Political Ideology Measure’ from the screenshot above. The first step is to click on the name of the test itself so you can view the full record in the database.

Next, scroll down to a section labeled ‘Test Development Record’:

Screenshot of test development record

Just below the ‘Test Development Record’ you will see the heading ‘Reported In’.  This is a citation for the work in which the test/measure was originally reported.  Even though PsycTESTS doesn’t have a full copy of the test, you can consult the original article for a copy (assuming they included it).

**Note: You can click on the ‘Test Development Record’ to bring up a full list of information about the test including reliability/validity, author contact information, whether it is commercially licensed, and more:

Once you know the original reporting article, the savvy researcher might connect to Google Scholar through the library to quickly determine whether we have full-text access to the work:

Screenshot of Google Scholar check

In the event you get this far and can’t find a full-text copy of the original article, remember you can always submit an interlibrary loan request for a copy by following the ‘Order An Article’ link on the library homepage.

Happy Searching!

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!