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Research Instruments

This guide will help you learn how to identify, assess, and obtain research instruments.

What is a research instrument?

What is a research instrument?

Notebook & Typewriter by Dustin LeePhoto by Dustin Lee. Source: Image used under CC0.

It is a tool used to collect, measure, and analyze data related to your subject. These tools are most commonly used in health sciences, social sciences, and education to assess patients, clients, and students. They can be tests, surveys, questionnaires, or even checklists.

Note that these instruments are often under copyright and might require permission to access and use.

To use many of the databases listed in this guide, you will need to be on the Duquesne campus or to log in with your MultiPass.

So, how do I find a research instrument?

Finding an Instrument by Subject

Finding an Instrument By Subject Matter or Topic

Instruments measure health conditions and mental states, among other things. If you have a subject and need to find an instrument that measures it, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search the library's resources for an instrument related to your topic.

Hint - PQDTG is a good place to start, as many dissertations include the full text of an instrument. If you do find an instrument in a dissertation, however, assess both its validity and applicability to your project. Make sure you also get permission before using it.

Step 2. Once you find the name of an instrument that you think will work, look at reviews of the instrument and make sure it is appropriate for your purposes.

Step 3. You can also browse the instruments that are freely available on the web.

Step 4. Once you find an instrument that you'd like to use, look at the citation to find the original source. From there, you may be able to access the instrument. If not, contact the author/publisher for a copy. Make sure you also ask permission from the author/publisher before using. There may be a fee involved.

►Research Tip: there are lots of possible keywords when looking for research instruments. Try some of the following: assessment, survey, tool, questionnaire, measurement, test.

Click on each resource below to find more info on how to use it to find research instruments

Asher's Occupational Therapy Assessment Tools (Book)


CINAHL - Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (Database)

Compendium of Neuropsychological Tests      (Book)


Directory of Unpublished Experimental Mental Measures                  (Book)

ERIC  Educational Resources Information Center (Database)  

ETS - Educational Testing Service                                                (Database)

HaPI  Health & Psychosocial Instruments     (Database)


MMY - Mental Measurements Yearbook                                              (Book & Database)

PQDTG - ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global (Database)
TMdb - Test and Measures in the Social Sciences
(Finding Aid, currently being transferred to

Already know the name of the test you're looking for?

Start here.