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Finding Research Instruments

What is PsycINFO?

PsycINFO is the major database for the literature of psychology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences, including nursing and education.

Important Definitions


  • searchable research tool that includes records about a wide range of sources, primarily articles


  • collection of information about a single item, usually an article, within a database; includes several fields


  • section of a record that provides a specific piece of information about the item described (the title, the author, the abstract, etc.)

Truncation (*)

  • the star or asterisk key tells the database to look for any ending of a word; one example: searching for measure* in a database would find the words measure, measures, and measurement

Searching By Topic

To find instruments about your research topic, use keywords about it in one or more of the search boxes. In the final box, try using this string of words: test* OR measure* OR survey* OR questionnaire* OR scale* OR batter* OR inventor* OR checklist* OR instrument* OR pretest* OR posttest* OR interview*. In the drop-down menu next to that search box, choose AB Abstract to search only the Abstract field.

keyword search

When you view a record in PsycINFO, look at the Tests & Measures field to see the titles of instruments used or mentioned in that source.

tests and measures field

An instrument name with the notation [appended] after it indicates that some or all of the instrument itself is included in the publication.

Searching By Title

If you know the specific name of your instrument, put it in quotation marks in the search box, then choose TM Tests & Measures from the drop-down menu beside the search box. That will force PsycINFO to search only the Tests & Measures field for that name. You can search for acronyms this way, too.

search by title

If you aren't sure of the exact title, don't use quotes. Instead, search for words you know are likely to be included in the name, still searching the Tests & Measures field.

keyword search within tests and measures

Finding Full Instruments Using PsycINFO

As noted above, the term [appended] after an instrument name in the Tests & Measures field indicates some or all of the instrument itself is included in the article.

To search specifically for those articles, put the word appended (you don't need the brackets) in one of your search boxes, then choose TM Tests & Measures from the drop-down menu.

appended search

Searching For Evaluations

Classification Codes in PsycINFO can be used to identify articles on the development or validation of instruments. The relevant codes begin with 222 (see the full list of classification codes). To find these types of articles, first follow the instructions for searching by topic or title; in the final search box, type 222* and select CC Classification from the drop-down menu.

search for test evaluations