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Research Instruments

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

Finding an Instrument By Name

Obtaining the Full Instrument and Getting Permission

To obtain the full text and ask for permission to use an instrument, you will need to determine whether your instrument is published or unpublished.

Note: If you have found the full text of an instrument, you will still need to ask for permission to use it.

Published Instruments
Published means commercially published, and that the instrument is typically available for sale. You can generally find published instruments in Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print Database.
Unpublished Instruments
Unpublished means that the instrument has not been commercially published. You can generally find information regarding unpublished instruments in many of the Resources for Identifying Instruments.

If the instrument has been published, contact the publisher.

Published instruments are usually purchased through a publisher's website. Major test publishers have websites listing their products. 

  • 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. 

If the instrument is unpublished, contact the author directly.

You may be able to find the full text of unpublished instruments using the library's databases.

  • Start by checking the APA PsycTests database, which includes the full text of many research instruments.
  • Include the instrument name and limit to full text (see the APA PsycTests guide for more information)
  • If you find the full text, read the permission terms to determine if it is available for reuse or if you will need to contact the author/publisher.

If you have to contact the publisher or author for the full text of an instrument or permission, try these suggestions below:

  • Look for the author's email address or phone number to contact them.
    • Be sure to let them know you are a student.
  • If the email bounces back or phone number doesn't work, search for their institution affiliation.
    • It may lead to their contact information. 
  • Ask your professor or a librarian for help! They might be able to help. 
  • 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.
  • Lastly, contact authors of articles that mention the instrument you are looking for, and ask them how they obtained permission.