Finding research instruments and information can be difficult. While quite a few are freely available on websites and in books, more are available only by purchase or by permission from the author or publisher of the test. And many tests are published only in journal articles. A good rule of thumb when using any test is to request permission unless it is stated that the test is not copyrighted and is a public document, available without charge.

The Sources

There are two basic sources of test instruments: publishers who charge a fee and often allow access only to qualified professionals and individual researchers who develop test instruments but do not market them through a publisher. Published tests must be ordered directly from the publisher. Published tests and ordering information can be obtained through publisher catalogs and Web pages and in Mental Measurements Yearbook, Tests, and Tests in Print.

Information about non-published tests often appears in journal articles, which can be located by searching in such databases as CINAHL (nursing and allied health), and ERC (education). Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI) is a database which provides brief information about non-published tests, including citations to articles that report on use of the instruments and often contain the original instrument within the article itself. At other times, in order to obtain a copy of a non-published instrument, you may need to contact the test developer directly and request a copy of the test and permission to use it. Researchers are usually willing to oblige.

The Search

The first question to answer is this: Do I need to find information about a research instrument or do I need to obtain a copy of the instrument for use in research?

If you need information about a research instrument, what kind of information do you need: information on content, development, psychometric properties (reliability, validity, etc.)?

If you plan to use the instrument in research, you need to be concerned not only with obtaining the instrument, but also obtaining permission to use the instrument.

These websites provide full text or samples of selected tests and measures:


Buros Institute

Buros provides information on locating tests, test reviews, or test publishers. Also includes a subject index for quickly locating tests in a specific subject area.

City of Hope Pain & Palliative Care Resource Center – Research Instruments and Resources

Includes clinical and research tools addressing quality of life, pain, psychosocial assessment, medical staff knowledge and attitudes, brief pain surveys, palliative care and needs assessments from various sources.

FACIT – Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy

FACIT provides a collection of Quality of Life (QOL) questionnaires targeted to the management of chronic illness. While cancer is a major focus, there are also instruments for fatigue, HIV disease, treatment satisfaction, spiritual well-being, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic conditions. Sample questionnaires can be downloaded for free; permission for use of the scales in English can be obtained by agreeing to a user’s agreement and completing the Collaborators’ Project Information Form.

FAQ/Finding Information about Psychological Tests (APA)

Does not sell or endorse testing instruments, but provides guidance in using available resources to find psychological tests. The APA provides detailed information in a guide about finding information about published and unpublished instruments (FAQ / Finding Information about Psychological Tests)

Finding Tests, Measurements, and Surveys

This reference guide from UNC-Chapel Hill Davis Library is designed to help you get started in finding reviews of tests, finding tests to suit a particular need, and obtaining actual copies of tests.

Google Scholar

You can sometimes find copies of tests and measures freely available on the Web. Type the title of the test into Google (Brief Pain Inventory) or use Google Advanced Search and select file type .pdf or .doc.

HSRR: Health Services and Sciences Research Resources from the National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology 

Information about research datasets and instruments/indices employed in Health Services Research, Behavioral and Social Sciences, and Public Health with links to PubMed. Rather than being an archive of datasets and instruments themselves, the HSRR is a searchable online database of records, i.e., categorical descriptions of datasets and instruments.

Medical Algorithms Project

Developed by the Institute for Algorithmic Medicine, this site contains algorithms (including scales and surveys) taken from biomedical texts and journals. Topics are organized in 45 chapters and contain brief descriptions and the ability to open algorithms in an Excel spreadsheet. Free registration

The National Quality Measures Clearinghouse (NQMC)

Sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this is a searchable public repository and Web site for information on specific evidence-based health care quality measures and measure sets. NQMC is sponsored by AHRQ to promote widespread access to quality measures by the health care community and other interested individuals.

PROQOLID, the Patient-Reported Outcome and Quality of Life Instruments Database 

Free Access gives basic information about instruments; Advanced Access is available to members only and offers more complete descriptions, review copies of most instruments, and some user manuals.

RAND Health – Surveys and Tools

All of the surveys and tools from RAND Health are public documents, available without charge (for non-commercial purposes). Some materials listed are not available from RAND Health. Links will take you to other websites, where you will find instructions for use. The 64 surveys currently offered cover a wide range of health and health delivery concerns.

Test Link Database from ETS

The Test Collection Database contains descriptions of over 25,000 tests that reside in the library of Educational Testing Service. Tests in Microfiche (TIM) is a subset of this collection consisting of 1,000+ tests. They include research and unpublished instruments that may be of interest to students doing research.

Tests and Measures in the Social Sciences: Tests Available in Compilation Volumes 

This reference guide from the University of Texas at Arlington Library lists tests and measures available in over 100 compilation volumes, including Tests in Microfiche from the Educational Testing Service (available at UNC-CH Davis Library). Includes both published and unpublished tests and measurements

These databases can be searched by author, title, acronym, or subject of tests and measures:

Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI) Available through EBSCO 

Indexes journal articles on measurement instruments in the health fields, psychosocial sciences, organizational behavior, and library and information science. Includes information about number of test questions, subscale titles, source of the instrument, references from the instrument, and the analyst of the instrument. HAPI provides information on evaluation. Instruments may be tested or research replicated to determine reliability and validity. Articles are easily identified by searching with keywords from the instrument’s title. The range of instrument types is broad. Questionnaires, interview schedules, checklists, index measures, coding schemes and manuals, rating scales, projective techniques, scenarios and tests are included. The database covers the years 1985 to the present.

Search Tip: To find only those articles that contain the actual instrument, limit by checking the “Primary Source” box.

To search by author name, enter the author’s last name and first initial in the search box, and then click the author icon above; you will be taken to a list of author names, where you can select all that are appropriate to your search.

In some cases, you can order more information or the instrument itself by contacting the Behavioral Measurement Database Services at; materials available through this method will contain a note within the abstract.

Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL Complete)

CINAHL indexes journals in nursing and allied health fields and includes evaluation, history, methods, standards, and utilization of research instruments. The titles of any tools or instruments used by the author are given in the research instruments field.

Search Tip: From the CINAHL Complete main search page, type a word or phrase into the text box, then use the drop down menu to specify the “IN Instrumentation” field.

Search by topic and limit by Publication Type to “Research Instrument” or “Questionnaire/Scale”


Medical Subject Heading [MeSH] headings for the concept of tests and measurement include: questionnaires, psychological tests, psychometrics outcome, and process assessment (health care). Locating an instrument or test in PubMed may also be done using important words from the title of a particular instrument

Search tip: Search by MeSH term and combine terms such as “Questionnaires”[Mesh] or “Psychological Tests”[Mesh] or “Reproducibility of Results”[Mesh].

Books are Located in RMUoHP Resource Center; the full list of books can be found at LRC webpage.

ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing & Prescription. BA Franklin     WE 103 A514a 2000 6th

The single most internationally read and referenced text in sports medicine, exercise science, and health and fitness, this manual succinctly summarizes recommended procedures for exercise testing and exercise prescription in healthy and diseased individuals. This gold-standard text is a convenient, one-stop resource for the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that must be mastered by candidates for all ACSM certifications.

Functional Assessment & Outcome Measures for the Rehabilitation Health Professional. S. Dittmar    WB 320 F978 1997

This book is an excellent resource on assessment tools that measure functional outcomes. It is concise but thorough and covers the major issues related to the use of functional outcome measures.

Improving Functional Outcomes in Physical Rehabilitation. SB O Sullivan    WB 320 O85i 2010

Here is a practical, step-by-step guide to help understanding the treatment process and to select the most appropriate intervention for a patient. Well illustrated, in-depth coverage shows how to identify functional deficits, determine what treatments are appropriate, and how to implement them to achieve the best functional outcome for patients.

Instruments for Clinical Health-Care Research/ FM Stromberg     WY 20.5 I59 2004 3rd

A definitive volume for clinical health-care research, this book covers the measurement and assessment of health and function, health promotion activities, outcomes of care, and clinical problems. The third edition provides a review of available clinical research instruments to measure select clinical phenomenon, descriptions of psychometric properties of each tool, reviews of selected studies employing the tool, identification of instrument strengths and weaknesses, and discussions of the relevance of each instrument for nursing.

Measurement for Evaluation Physical Education & Exercise Science. T. Bumgartner   QT 255 M4857s 1987 3rd

Developed to help students master the essential content, principles, and concepts to make them effective evaluators, this text provides the practical skills and materials needed whether they become teachers or work in exercise science. This book continues to bridge the gap between theory and practice by examining measurement and evaluation techniques in a variety of activity settings from coaching and teaching to adult education and community programs.

Measurement of Joint Motion: A Guide to Goniometry.  C. Norkin WE 300 N8412m 2009 4th

The 4th edition teaches how to perform the skills essential to identify impairments and assess rehabilitation status. For each measurable joint in the body, you’ll find a consistent, easy-to-follow format and photographs depicting stabilization during range of motion and alignment, making it easy to visualize the examination and technique for each joint motion and muscle length test.

Measurement of Physical Performance.  JK Nelson QT 255 M435n 1979

Originally designed to be a supplement to more current textbooks, this books puts theory into practice. Experiments covering 13 major areas of performance, statistics, and test construction underscore the importance of analyzing the actual performance being measured

Nursing Sensitive Outcomes: State of the Science. DM Doran WY 85.5 N869 2003

This text is an invaluable resource for nurse researchers, scholars, and health care professionals committed to effective, quality nursing care as evidenced by nursing-sensitive outcomes measurement. The authors provide a comprehensive review of the literature specific to outcomes measurement for self-care, symptom control, pain, adverse occurrences, and patient satisfaction.

Outcome Assessment in Advanced Practice Nursing. RM Kleinpell  WY 128 O94 2001

Measuring patient outcomes is arguably the most important job of the advanced practice nurse (APN)-yet conducting outcome assessment and selecting the appropriate instruments for measuring outcome continue to be a challenge, even to the best in the field. This revised edition provides APNs with up-to-date resources and examples of outcome measures, tools, and methods that can be used to expand the understanding of outcome assessment. The chapters outline numerous examples of practice-based outcome assessments, with detailed descriptions of how an assessment is conducted, as well as guidelines for identifying the proper instruments for measuring outcome.

Practical Measurements for Evaluation in Physical Education.  BL Johnson QT 255 P44j 1969

Developed in response to the need for a better understanding of how to measure and evaluate physical skill performance in an economical and practical manner, this book provides data which should augment the physical educator’s evaluation skills. Tests included were selected from those already published or were developed and modified by the authors. Extensive bibliographies support each of the twenty-two chapters and normative data for the measurement of particular physical abilities is provided.

Understanding Health Care Outcomes Research. RL Kane  W 84.1 U55 2004 and 2006

The first edition of this ground-breaking book was the pioneer text on outcomes research. It’s a resource no quality-minded health care professional should be without. Both practical and applied, this book makes sense of the science of studying health care outcomes – a vital process in health care quality assurance.

Using Nursing Case Management to Improve Health Outcomes. M Newell  WY 100 N5455u 1996

This book offers discussion of theoretical models, skills and training requirements, quality improvement, ethics, the future of nursing case management, and more. Includes examples of forms and tools and a glossary of terminology.


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