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Finding Survey Instruments and Questionnaires: PsycTESTS

PsycTESTS and Behavioral Instruments

PsycTESTS is a new database created by the American Psychological Association which specializes in indexing the literature of both commercial and non-commercial behavioral instruments. 

So it shares coverage with both Health and Psychosocial Instruments (non-commercial instruments coverage) and Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests In Print (commercial instruments coverage).

But unlike either of its competitor instrument databases, PsycTESTS is a predominantly full text database.

And unlike full text literature databases which only provide access to articles referencing instruments, this database makes accessible the full text of the instruments themselves.

So when you find relevant instrument references in PsycTESTS, you can usually link directly to the instrument questions in pdf. 

Keyword Searching PsycTESTS

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

• AU Author

• AF Author Affiliation (& Corresponding Author Address)

• CB Construct - "what the test is intended to measure" (PsycTESTS, n.d.)

PO Population

• SU Subjects

• Test Alternate Names

• TA Test Acronym 

• TD Test Description

• TP Test Purpose

• TR Test Reliability

• VL Test Validity

• ZG Age Group

• ZQ Other Population Info

• ZS Supporting Documentation (type)

Keyword in this database thus covers most of the important available text fields. Unless you need to ensure absolutely no instrument was missed, keyword searching is probably sufficient for this database.

If, however, you are seeking comprehensive, exhaustive coverage of the database, an All Text search of your primary search terms should maximize your search retrieval (see below).

All Text Nested "OR" Searching in PsycTESTS

Because PsycTESTS is a behavioral instrument database, the nested "OR" strategy recommended for wide angle searching of the scholarly literature databases is both unncessary and will result in (slightly) fewer results than if you simply All Text search your primary topic search terms.

To perform an All Text search of your primary search terms,

1) Enter your search terms in the search box

2) Click open the adjacent drop down menu and select TX All Text

3) Click the search button to perform your search

By a small margin, this is the widest angle search you can perform in this database. 

The best option for narrow angle, focused searching is keyword CB Construct field searching.

Keyword CB Construct Field Searching

The Construct field (CB) in PsycTESTS indexes the terms comprising the measurement focus of the instrument (the variables being measured).

If a term or phrase is flagged as the construct of an instrument, it is either the major focus or one of the focii of the measurement.

Searching this field will result in lower search retrieval but a higher percentage of relevant records because of the topic specificity of this index field.

To perform a Construct keyword search in PsycTESTS,

1) Enter your search term(s) in the search box (hint: search your measurement variables here)

2) Open the drop down menu adjacent to your search box and select CB Construct 

3) Click the Search button to perform your search