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Tests and Instruments in the Behavioral and Social Sciences

Information about finding tests, scales, and other measurement instruments.

Identifying Instruments

There are several ways to identify test instruments to measure behaviors and personality traits appropriate for specific client groups. You may wish to browse the contents of books containing test instruments; you may also wish to search the literature of your field to identify tests that have been used.

Whatever the source, always remember that tests and instruments are copyrighted intellectual property; the rights may be held by the author or by the publisher. Sometimes you may have to pay to purchase access to a test. or you may have to be trained in the test's protocols before you can use it. To read more about copyright, select the tab Obtaining Permission.

The St. Kate's Library has several books that provide the full text of selected scales, while others simply list and describe instruments, often providing reliability, validity and sometimes additional information about the test. If the full test is not given in a book, several sample questions may be given. Scoring information may or may not be included.

Select the Print sources page above for books that provide scales and that may help you identify instruments.

Select the Electronic resources page for additional help in identifying instruments, although most of these usually do not provide complete tests. They are primarily useful for obtaining information about instruments and testing.


Many professional organizations have guidelines and ethical criteria pertaining to the use of instruments and research subjects. If you are a member of a professional organization (or your field has a professional organization), check their website for these standards. Additionally, St. Catherine University requires that research in which human subjects are tested or interviewed must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Consult the St. Catherine University IRB page for more information. Your advisor can also give you guidance for getting your project approved by IRB.

Places to Start

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