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Finding Research Instruments

What is Health & Psychosocial Instruments?

Health & Psychosocial Instruments, or HaPI, is a database exclusively containing citations to instruments, uses of those instruments in the literature, and evaluations of those instruments. Its subject matter broadly covers the health and social sciences. It does not contain the full-text of any instruments, nor does it have easy linking to full-text sources, unlike most of our other databases.

Some instruments may be obtained directly from HaPI's publisher at no cost to you. Look in the Availability field for text that says "To obtain a copy of this instrument from Behavioral Measurement Database Services (BMDS)...." Send the following to the listed email: Your name, phone number and mailing address, institution (UMass Dartmouth), a brief summary of your research project, the name of the instrument, and the accession number, which is listed in the HaPI record. Turnaround time for instrument requests is typically 3-5 business days.

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 For Types of Sources in HaPI

HaPI lets you search very specific types of documents. You'll have better results if you choose only one to search at a time.

The ones you're most likely to search are:

  • Primary source: the original publication of the instrument by its developer
  • Secondary source: articles that describe uses of the instrument; sometimes these are later studies by the developer
  • Review source: an article evaluating the instrument in some way

source types

Unique Fields in HaPI

While HaPI records include common fields like Title, Acronym, and Abstract, they also have a few important unique fields:

  • Measure: terms describing what the instrument attempts to measure
  • Sample: terms describing characteristics of participants in the study
  • Subscale: this field either names question subsets of the original instrument or indicates to which original instrument a subscale belongs (this field appears in primary source records only)

sample fields

Searching By Topic

Use keywords to describe the topic that interests you.

sample search 1

You may need to try a number of synonyms, since HaPI has very brief abstracts and sometimes a peculiar vocabulary.

sample search 2

If you get stuck, try searching the Indexes for keywords until you find one that the database recognizes as significant.

If you're getting too many results, and you think you've found the right words to describe your topic, you can use the drop-downs to search specifically in fields like ME Measure or SA Sample. Some combination of fields could be the most successful at narrowing your results.

sample search 3

Be sure to limit to the type of source you want. Remember, if you search for a Primary Source you'll locate articles in which the instrument was originally presented; in a Secondary Source, you'll see ways in which the creator or other researchers used it in later studies.

Searching By Title

Type the name of your test, in quotes if you're sure of the exact title, and choose TI Title from the drop-down menu.

search by title

If you know the acronym, use the AC Acronym field instead.

search by acronym

The default search will include both these fields, so you can try that, too, especially if you're not positive of the exact test name or acronym.

Searching For Evaluations

Follow the instructions for searching by topic or title and limit to Review Source.

search for reviews

Obtaining Sources You Find in HaPI

HaPI records are about the research instrument; the source (primary, secondary, or any other type) is listed in the Source field.

Remember, by using the instructions below, you are not necessarily obtaining the instrument itself. You'll be locating the source in which the instrument was introduced, described, validated, utilized or otherwise mentioned. You likely won't know if the instrument is included in the article in full until you see the source listed by HaPI.

To locate the most common type of source, a journal article, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Find Journals By Title tab in this guide.
  2. Search for the name of the journal.
  3. Determine if we have the journal online for the date on which your article was published.
  4. If so, use the "View Online" option to get to the full-text of the article.
  5. If not, go to the InterLibrary Loan tab in this guide to request the article online.