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University Libraries

Tests: What You Need to Know

Libraries generally do not buy commercially published tests due to use and copyright restrictions imposed by publishers. This makes locating copies of tests difficult. There are, however, two things you can do to reduce frustration. First, decide whether you need an actual copy of the test or whether a detailed description will do (i.e. reliability and validity data, sample items, a review). A description is usually much easier to find than the test itself. Second, decide whether you must have one particular test or if any relevant instrument will do.

Locating Copies of Tests

If you must have one particular test and no substitution is possible, consult the Mental Measurements Yearbook Online (print version in Lockwood Library reference collection, LML Ref Z 5814 .P8 B932) for reviews, price, publisher addresses, reliability and validity data, and other information about published tests and measures. This will show whether the test you are looking for is currently available, along with price and ordering information you will need in order to buy the test directly from the publisher. If the test you need is not listed in the Mental Measurements Yearbook Online, or if you do not need a particular test but can use any relevant instrument, check PsycTESTS and/or Fischer and Corcoran's Measures for Clinical Practice (see Useful Sources). PsycTESTS is a database that contains the full-text of more than 7000 unpublished instruments.  Measures for Clinical Practice is a hard copy handbook that contains several hundred unpublished instruments.

Locating Information About Tests

Test descriptions, including sample items, reliability and validity data, and sometimes a review, can be found in the Mental Measurements Yearbook Online. You may also wish to look for journal articles about the instrument you are looking for. Try a keyword search in PsycTESTS or the HaPI database, using two or three words from the name of the instrument you want.

Useful Sources


Produced by the American Psychological Association, this database conatins the full-text of more than 7000 tests, surveys, and other measures. Although many of the instruments originally appeared in journal articles, they are considered "unpublished" because they have not been published by commercial test publishers. As a result, they carry minimal copyright restrictions and are ideal for class assignments and simliar projects. For dissertations and other advanced research, you may also need commercial instruments (see Mental Measurements Yearbook Online).


Measures for Clinical Practice (Fischer and Corcoran; Lockwood Library reference collection, LML Ref BF176 .C66 1994)

Contains copies of several hundred unpublished (i.e. less well-known) instruments. Covers a range of traits and disorders including anxiety, depression, self-esteem, family functioning, assertiveness, and the like. These instuments are ideal for class projects.


Mental Measurements Yearbook Online (print version in Lockwood Library reference collection, LML Ref Z 5814 .P8 B932)

The standard guide to published tests, this series provides reviews, reliability and validity data, and ordering information for commercially available tests back to 1938.


Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI)

An index to journal articles about specific instruments. While this database does not contain copies of tests, it may lead you to articles that do include actual tests. These articles can be identified by including the keywords 'instrument appears' in your search.


For Tests and Measures - This website is a clearinghouse for HIV/AIDS researchers maintained by the Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services at UCLA. Among the resources it provides, are online copies of assessment scales, surveys, and other instruments. Many of these are not specific to HIV/AIDS. They address aspects of personality and behavior that are applicable to the general population in areas such as anxiety, substance abuse, conduct problems, family dynamics, depression, and the like. Includes the full-text of several hundred instruments.


Tests in Microfiche (consult UB Libraries' catalog for current location)

This set contains test and other instruments (some of which are a bit dated) that have been reproduced on microfiche. These insturments are considered unpublished because they were not published by a commercial test publisher. As a result, they can be made available in libraries with minimal restrictions on use. You can use Tests in Microfiche Index to identify tests by title, topic, and author, and to obtain the test number (begins with "TC") you will need to find the test in the Tests in Microfiche collection in the UB Libraries.