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Finding Research Instruments in the Social and Behavioral Sciences   Tags: anthropology, education, gerontology, instruments, inventories, measures, psychology, research_instruments, scales, social_sciences, social_work, sociology, tests  

This guide will help you find research instruments in the social and behavioral sciences.
Last Updated: Apr 13, 2012 URL: http://libguides.weber.edu/researchinstruments Print Guide RSS Updates

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Finding Research Instruments

1. If you know the title of the research instrument and/or its abbreviation:

  • Search databases such as PsycINFO and ERIC for the title of the instrument as a phrase using quotations marks (such as "Aging Sexual Knowledge and Attitudes Scale") or for the abbreviation of the instrument (such as MMPI). It is usually a good idea to begin with the oldest article retrieved since, in some cases, authors provide a copy of their instrument as an appendix when they use it for the first time; if you decide to use a specific instrument that is availabe as part of an article, you should get permission from the author(s) and/or publisher(s). If the instrument is not available as an appendix, look for contact information for the author(s) and/or publisher(s); they may be willing to send you a copy or tell where it can be obtained (often for a charge), as well as give you permission to use the instrument. In either case, make sure to clearly state how you intend to use the instrument.

  • Look up the title or abbreviation in the appropriate index to The Mental Measurements Yearbook (Reference Shelves, Middle Level: BF 698.5 .M549); this reference series will help you identify the creator(s) and/or publisher(s) of the instrument. If a commercial publisher is listed, you should contact them and request a copy of the instrument along with permission to use it. Unfortunately, not all publishers will provide a copy for free. If this book lists the creator(s) of the instrument, search for their contact information and contact them directly to request a copy along with their permission to use the instrument. In either case, make sure to clearly state how you intend to use the instrument.

  • Search Google Scholar and other web search engines for the title of the instrument as a phrase using quotations marks (such as "Aging Sexual Knowledge and Attitudes Scale") or for the abbreviation of the instrument (such as MMPI). In rare cases, copies of the instrument may be available online. In most cases, however, you will find at least the creator(s) and/or publisher(s) names and sometimes their contact information.

2. If you are searching for a research instrument by subject:

  • Search PsycINFO and ERIC for keywords or/or phrases related to your subject combined using and with one or more of the following words: measure, instrument, scale, inventory, or test. For example, if you are looking for instruments related to pornography, try the following search statement:

    pornography and (measure* or instrument* or scale* or inventor* or test*)

    You may also limit your subject search to the TM ("Tests and Measures") field in PsycINFO in this manner:

    TM pornography

  • Look up your subject in the approxiate indexes to The Mental Measurements Yearbook (Reference Shelves, Middle Level: BF 698.5 .M549); this reference series will provide information on instruments related to your subject and help you identify the creator(s) and/or publisher(s) of such instruments. If a commercial publisher is listed, you should contact them and request a copy of the instrument. Unfortunately, not all publishers will provide a copy for free. If this book lists the creator(s) of the instrument, search for their contact information and contact them directly to request a copy along with their permission to use the instrument. In either case, make sure to clearly state how you intend to use the instrument.

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