Skip to main content

Finding Research Instruments

What is SocINDEX?

SocINDEX is a database that searches across the literature of sociology, including social work.

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.

search by topic

There is no field in SocINDEX records specifically for research instruments, so those would likely appear only in the abstract.

Searching By Title

Search for the name of your instrument (if you know it exactly) in quotation marks.

search by title

The acronym for the test is also an option. Limiting to the AB Abstract field is a good idea. You may also want to incorporate some of the ideas from the Searching By Topic box to limit your search in case you get a lot of irrelevant results.

Searching For Evaluations

Follow the advice for searching by topic or title, then in your final search box, use the string of words validity OR reliability, limited to the AB Abstract field to narrow your search to articles that are likely to include some kind of evaluation of the instruments used. This isn't foolproof, but can be a helpful strategy.

validity or reliability search