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Research Instruments

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

Contacting Publishers & Authors

Getting Permission

If you have found the instrument you need, but cannot find the full text, you need to contact the publisher or author for a copy. Note that if you have found the full text of an instrument, you still need to contact the publisher or author for permission to use it. 

If the instrument has been published and is commercially available, contact the publisher.

If the instrument is unpublished, contact the author directly.

How do I know if the instrument I found has been published or not? Generally speaking, if you can only find author information, the instrument may be unpublished, so start with the author. If it is in the Directory of Unpublished Experimental Mental Measures, you know the instrument is unpublished, while if it is found in Tests in Print you know it has been published.

Contacting Publishers

When you contact a publisher to obtain either an instrument or permission, make sure you let them know you are a student. They may let you use the instrument for free or give you a discounted rate. 

A note of caution: before using an instrument (and especially before paying for one), it is best to make sure that the instrument will work for you. Once you have a name, search for reviews of the instrument to verify its validity.

Contacting Authors

If the author's email address or phone number is listed you can contact them. Make sure you let them know you are a student.

If the email bounces back or phone number doesn't work, you can still try to track the author down. What institution are they associated with? A search of the school's website may lead to their contact information. A simple online search for their name may also lead to contact information.

If you have tried all of the above and still cannot locate the author, see if the author has any co-authors (in other papers) that you can contact. They may lead you to the author's contact information. Alternately, you could contact authors of articles that mention the instrument you are looking for, and ask them how they obtained it.