This content has been adapted from Bernadette Lear's excellent page http://www.personal.psu.edu/bal19/finding_tests.htm at Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg Library
There could be hundreds of tests out there, depending on the people you want to assess, and what you want to learn about them. So your first step is to find basic information about available tests, and narrow yourself down to a few that are REALLY worth your time and money.
If you're working on a simple assignment and just about any test will be helpful to you, start with:
MCPR provides copies of hundreds of tests, mostly derived from scholarly journal articles. Each entry includes reliability and validity information as well as the questions--just what you need for some professors' assignments. The only drawback to MCPR is that you generally will NOT find popular commercialized tests such as the Myers-Briggs personality test here. When using MCPR, be sure to consult the various tables of contents.
If you aren't satisfied with the MCPR, or you want to learn about other tests that are commonly used, there are other sources you can search. HOWEVER, these do NOT provide copies of tests. Instead, they will give you basic information, like the test name, purpose, population, scoring system, validity, price, and publisher (all of these books are in the Reference Collection):
Probably the Test Critiques and Mental Measurements Yearbooks will be the most helpful. The Tests in Print will help you find brief descriptions of tests, then you can search online for more information about them. Interestingly, searching Google for specific tests did pull up a lot of references, so you can search there or in the PsycINFO database.
If you find a helpful test in the MMY, Tests, Test Critiques, you must take steps to get a copy of that test. See the information on contacting test authors/publishers and other sections below.
Yes. University researchers, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, consultants, and others sometimes develop their own instruments. If they have published a journal article, research paper, book, or web page about their research, a copy of the testing instrument might be included in the text or in an appendix.
So how do you search for this stuff? First, use a “directory” of tests published in books and journal articles.
Test instruments can be tricky to find. Here are the most common problems:
If you are using the MMY, a library book, or journal article to search for tests, you can sometimes find the test author's "institutional affiliation," e-mail address, or other contact information. It sometimes appears within a large reference book, it will usually appear within the entry; in a book, it is often on the back pages or book jacket; and in a journal article, it may be on the first or last page. If the information isn't available or is outdated, you can usually locate him/her by using a search engine like Google.
Be aware that contact information about test authors may be "buried" online in faculty, corporate, or governmental web pages. If you aren't finding the author by searching Google, BUT you know where he or she works, you can visit the university's or company's home page, find an online directory of faculty or employees, and search that.
If your test is distributed by a publisher, it can be tough to find the current publisher, especially for older tests. This is because smaller publishing companies are constantly being bought out by larger corporations. Here are some of the well-known publishers and their web sites:
In sources like MMY, reviewers often discuss the “validity” of tests. According to the Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods, validity is “the extent to which any measuring instrument measures what it is intended to measure.” Validity is an important indication of whether a test will be useful.
BUT as the Sage Encyclopedia explains, validity not only depends on the instrument itself, but HOW YOU USE the instrument. Even if a test is generally considered to be “valid,” it might not be applicable to the particular group, behavior, or situation you are trying to study (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2004, p. 1171). At this point, the library doesn’t have staff with expertise to recommend or evaluate tests. It really depends on your project. So, contact your professor.
No. For one thing, some tests can only be purchased, administered, or interpreted by a licensed or certified professional. Even if you are qualified to administer the test, there are a lot of other things you may need to do first. These include, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
Always consult with your professor.
A test’s design is a piece of intellectual PROPERTY, analogous in some ways to how a car is personal property. General Motors owns a Chevy truck until the truck is sold to a dealership, or sold to you. In a similar way, the person or company which creates the test OWNS the test, until he/she/it sells it to someone else.
Taking this example a step further, GM can manufacture a car model and sell the same car to numerous people for a certain price. Similarly, whoever owns the test design can choose to “publish” it by printing and selling copies.
Even if you see a car parked on the street, you still have to ask the owner whether you can drive it. Similarly with a test, if you see it in a book, journal, or on the Internet, you still have to GET PERMISSION to use it on clients or research subjects. A nice person may let you use his or her car for free, but companies like Budget or Enterprise make you pay rental fees! Similarly, many test publishers will make you pay to use their tests.
Ask a librarian and/or your professor for help. A librarian will help you find information using tools in the Library, on the Internet, and other resources. On the other hand, you and your professor should work together in deciding which tests are most relevant to your project.
Psychology Liaison Librarian:
Use any of these links to create citations in a particular format. Be sure to choose the proper style (MLA, APA, etc) and material type (electronic journal, website, book, etc). CAUTION: YOU are responsible for ensuring that your citations are formatted correctly. These tools will help you, but are not perfect!