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Finding Survey Instruments and Questionnaires: ERIC

ERIC and Behavioral Instruments

ERIC (Education Resource Information Center) is one of the principal databases of the scholarly literature of Education research. 

Because of its broad coverage of education-based research (primary, secondary, & tertiary), this is a valuable database  for a range of education related interdisciplinary topics, including:

•nursing education,

•educational psychology,

•health education,

•sports education

• and more.  

ERIC provides coverage of education-related behavioral instruments. 

 

Keyword Searching ERIC

The field defaults for keyword searching in ERIC cover the following indexes:

TI  Title

• AU Author

AB Abstract

• IN Institution Name

DE Subjects (Descriptors)

• SU Subject Headings

Keyword searching is not the best way to locate its instrument references in this database.

Instead, the best options for instrument reference searching are (in order of narrowest to widest search scope):

1) Publication Type: "Tests/Questionnaires" search

2) Explode Subject: "Measures (Individuals)" term search 

3) Abstract Nested "OR" search

4) All Text Nested "OR" search¹

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¹ All Text Nested "OR" searching will retrieve the largest search results for instruments. However, it will not necessarily increase number of relevant search results.

The increased search results of this type of broad search strategy often come at the expense of search focus and relevance. This type of strategy is best used as a last resort, or if you have to perform an exhaustive search for relevance. But be prepared to sift through a lot of extraneous material and 'red herrings" (records containing generic instrument term references but no references to titled instruments).

 

Using Publications Type: Tests/Questionnaires limiter

To use the Tests/Questionnaires limiter, 

1) Enter your search terms in the search box

2) Scroll through the Search options menu & locate the Publication Type scroll menu

3) Scroll through the Publication Type menu and select the Tests/Questionnaires option

4) Click the Search button to perform the search

Subject Headings Search: Measures (Individuals)

Measures (Individuals) is the broadest subject heading in the ERIC database covering statistical data collection tools. 

According to its scope note, it covers "procedures, devices, or sets of items that are used to estimate or rate the characteristics of individuals, e.g., their abilities, attitudes, opinions, or mental traits." 

To use Measures (Individuals) subject headings search:

1) Enter the term "Measures" in the search box and tick the Suggest Subject Terms box

2) Click the Search button to search the ERIC subject heading thesaurus

3) Locate & select the Measures (Individuals) tick box, click the adjacent Explode¹ box & click the Add button

4) Click the Search button to perform the search

5) Enter your topic search terms in the second (and where necessary, subsequent) search boxes

6) Click the Search button to perform the search

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¹ The Explode feature allows you to search a broad term and any narrower terms associated with it. Searching a broad subject heading without the explode feature active will retrieve only those records containing the broad subject heading. Searching with the Explode feature active can thus substantially increase your search results by automatically combining every narrower term associated with the broad subject heading. 

Search Using Abstracts (field) Nested "OR" Strategy

To nested "OR" Abstract-search ERIC for instruments,

1) Enter your topic search terms (variables you wish to measure) in the first search box

 

 

2) In the next search box, enter the following search strategy: Survey* OR Questionnaire* OR Scale* OR Inventor* OR "Interview Schedule*"

 

 

3) In the adjacent drop down menu (to the strategy you just entered) scroll down and select (click to highlight) AB Abstract.

 

 

4) Click the Search button to initiate the search.

 

 

Search Using All Text (field) Nested "OR" Strategy

To nested "OR" All Text-search ERIC for instruments,

1) Enter your topic search terms (variables you wish to measure) in the first search box

 

 

2) In the next search box, enter the following search strategy: Survey* OR Questionnaire* OR Scale* OR Inventor* OR "Interview Schedule*"

 

 

3) In the adjacent drop down menu (to the strategy you just entered) scroll down and select (click to highlight) TX All Text.

 

 

4) Click the Search button to initiate the search.

 

 

Locating Instrument References/Full Text

The most dependable way locate instrument references (and often instrument full text) in this database is to check the Availability field of the record for a Full Text from ERIC Available Online link. 

The Availability field is located at the bottom of the record, immediately below the Publication Type field. Where available, click the ERIC full text link.

This will navigate you to an ERIC abstract record with pdf Download Full Text link in the upper right corner. 

Click the Download Full Text link to open the document.

Scroll to the Methods section of the study and check for an 'instrument' section (nomenclature may vary but should normally be designated something like "Research Instrument," "Instrument," etc.).

Frequently instruments referenced in this database were designed specifically for the study in question and are not published. However, they often appear in the appendices at the conclusion of the articles/reports.