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Finding instruments, measures, scales & tests in education, health, psychology & social work

Liaison librarian

  • pamela [dot] harrison [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-6272

  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library-use only
  • Catalogue record

About this Guide

This guide is designed to be a resource for research involving instruments, measures, scales and tests. The guide is organized in three sections by research objective.

Section one points to sources and search techniques to use in identifying the measures that exist for assessing a specific condition, competency, etc.

Section two outlines tools available to locate descriptive information, critical reviews, or references related to the construction, validity, use, etc. of specific instruments.

Section three provides search tips and sources for locating a copy (free or for sale) of a test, measure, etc. The McGill University Library does not maintain a test collection; however, there are several University departments that maintain their own collections of this type (see “Local Resources”).

This guide was created by Jill Boruff, Sara Holder, Lorie Kloda, and Lindsey Sikora in May 2011. For assistance using the guide, or questions about finding instruments, measures, scales and tests, please contact a liaison librarian your subject area (e.g. nursing, medicine, education, psychology, social work). Find your liaison librarian.

[1] Identifying an Instrument, Measure, Scale or Test:

Books that Compile, Describe, & Review Tests, Instruments & Measures:

[2] Previous Uses of the Instrument, Measure, Scale or Test:

Finding research studies that used the instrument, or report its validity, reliability, or psychometric properties (i.e., when you know the instrument, and want to find out more about it)

Using Library Databases


Discovering measures (When the name is unknown)

Finding articles that use or discuss the measure


Occasionally, the full measure is included with an article as a an appendix

Use one or more classification codes combined with subject of measure (available from "Search Tools")


optimism and "Clinical Psychological Testing ".cc.

self esteem and "Developmental Scales & Schedules".cc.

More codes:
Tests & Testing
Personality Scales & Inventories
Sensory & Motor Testing
Neuropsychological Assessment
Health Psychology Testing
Educational Measurement
Occupational & Employment Testing
Consumer Opinion & Attitude Testing

Use the name, or part of the name in the search box, and limit to “tests and measures” (or type the suffix .tm.)

McGill pain.tm.

HaPI (Health & Psychosocial Instruments)

1985-present, with many earlier measures

“Source” is often publisher contact information rather than a journal or book citation

Search using keywords on the topic

Combine synonyms with OR and truncate

cope or coping

Limit to Primary Source to get only articles containing the measure or discussing its development

depressi*, limit to "Primary Source"


For searching the reliability or validity of an assessment tool


Use one or more of the following Subject Headings, and combine using AND with the name of the assessment tool:
Instrument validation/
Occupational therapy assessment/
Patient assessment/
Physical therapy assessment/
Test-retest reliability/


Use one or more MeSH terms combined (using AND) with the topic.

MEDLINE on Ovid:

exp Psychological tests/
exp Aptitude tests/
Language tests/
exp Neuropsychological tests/
exp Personality tests/
exp Psychiatric status rating scales/
exp Questionnaires/

Or, cut and paste the following search string, and then combine (using AND) with the topic.

((screen* or evaluat* or assess* or diagnos* or rating or rate or measur* or case finding) adj5 (index or test* or instrument* or inventor* or battery or batteries or tool* or scale* or checklist* or check list* or schedule*)).ti,ab.

Apraxia/ AND Language Tests/
Nursing/ AND Aptitude Tests/


/ = [mesh], e.g., exp Aptitude tests/ = Aptitude tests[Mesh] in PubMed

.ti,ab = [tiab], e.g., instrument*.ti,ab = instrument*[tiab] in PubMed

See also: Terwee C, Jansma E, Riphagen I, Vet HW. Development of a methodological PubMed search filter for finding studies on measurement properties of measurement instruments. Qual Life Res. 2009.

MEDLINE on Ovid:

Use the name of the instrument in combination with one or more of the MeSH terms below.

Reproducibility of results/
Observer variation/

Or, cut and paste the following search string and combine (using AND) with the name of the instrument.

(reliability or reproducib* or inter rate or interrater or valid* or test retest or predictive or psychometric*).mp.

hads.tw. AND Observer variation/

Mental Measurements Yearbook

Includes information about tests, how to purchase, a complete description, and references to reviews of the test

Search terms on the topic of interest, or the name of the tool


Health Services and Sciences Research Resources

Search terms on the topic of interest and select "Search Instruments/Indices only"

Search words from the name of the measure and select "Search Instruments/Indices only"


In the Advanced Search screen enter "testing" or "evaluation" or "measurement" and choose "Descriptor" from the drop-down menu or choose "tests/questionnaires" from the "Publication Type" limit list. Combine with terms on the topic of interest.

Search words from the name of the measure with the term "test validity" and choose "Descriptor" from the drop-down menu.

Tips for searching for health-related quality of life studies.

[3] Accessing the Actual Instrument, Measure, Scale or Test:

Obtaining the published or free copy of the instrument, or how to buy it (i.e., when you want to use the instrument in practice or for research)

Websites and Custom Search Engines:

The following sources are searchable databases for locating known assessment instruments. The databases were created by examining the contents of numerous compilation volumes. Entries will generally list instrument title, author, date, source volume title and page number. McGill Library will have many but not all of the compilation volumes listed.

Local Resources:

McGill University

  • Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology Assessment Library (Education Bldg, Rm 614G, 514-398-4363) ecptestlib [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Assessment Library Coordinator)
    Use restricted to graduate students from the School Psychology, Counselling Psychology and Inclusive Education programs to provide access to the necessary standardized materials to conduct psychological and cognitive assessments. Measures and related materials can be loaned to individual students as part of their course requirements and are collected based on the Instructors’ lists indicated on course outlines.


  • Université de Montreal Testothèque (Université de Montréal, Pavillon Marie- Victorin, Room D -329, (514) 343-6111 x26906)
    At UdeM, it is the mandate of the Testothèque to acquire and make tests available for clinical testing. The Testothèque contains a selection of tests, questionnaires and measurement scales in psychology and related fields, as well as theses and dissertations that have been produced by students in the Department of Psychology for the past 5 years. A selection of books on the tests are also available.

Commercial Publishers/Distributors:

  • Pearson Assessment/PsychCorp
    About the company: “Pearson is the global leader in clinical and educational assessment, providing a wide range of assessment tools for ability, achievement, personality, behaviour, speech and language, occupational therapy, and career interests.[Their] respected brands include the Wechsler family of assessments, the MMPI® family of tests, the Beck inventories, the Millon™ inventories, the PPVT™-4, the Bayley-III® Scales of Infant and Toddler Development®, the BASC™ family of products, the Kaufman family of assessments, and many more”.
  • SuperDuper
    Fun learning materials for kids with special needs, including autism, fine/gross motor skills, and phonology, to name a few of many. They make hundreds of creative, colorful educational and therapy materials.
  • LinguiSystems, Inc
    LinguiSystems provides "innovative, effective, affordable, and therapeutically-sound materials for speech-language pathologists to service individuals of all ages".

Other Resources


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