Seeking answers to questions such as “How satisfied was the patient with the inpatient care received?” or “What is the attitude of our emergency room staff towards patients with drug problems?” often sends researchers and their staff in search of appropriate measurement tools. Suitable tests can be difficult to locate and are seldom freely available to the public. However, HSLS librarians can provide the expertise and resources to assist researchers in locating measurement tests.
There are many reasons why finding measurement tools is so challenging. These range from copyright restrictions to publisher limits on the number of pages allotted to each article, preventing publication of lengthy tests or questionnaires. Similar to statistics, testing instruments are seemingly everywhere and yet, in practice, nowhere to be found!
It is relatively easy to locate so-called “published tests,” i.e., standardized instruments produced by test publishers. These tests are often sold in packets, with extensive information about the test, copies of the actual test form(s) and detailed instructions for administering the test and evaluating and analyzing the results. Though some tests may only be purchased by those with specific qualifications, published tests are generally easy to purchase. The library collection includes information resources with summary descriptions of the tests, their attributes, publisher contact information and cost.
The challenge of finding “unpublished tests” is greater. These are instruments specifically developed by researchers to measure a particular area of interest, or alterations made to an existing instrument for use in an environment or a population other than the one for which it was originally intended. Information on the development, use and psychometrics of these tests is available in journal articles, books or reports. But the test itself is seldom included with the source. Even well known instruments of this type are not usually available in full-text format.
Although finding the full text of a given instrument is never guaranteed, HSLS librarians have specialized expertise in identifying and locating measurement instruments.
~ Ester Saghafi