Instruments and Assessment Tutorial
Assessment, whether called diagnosis, measurement, or evaluation, is essential to social work practice. It is needed to develop accurate definitions of clients and their social situations, to identify problems, and to serve as a basis for helping intervention. Assessment consists of data collection, followed by an appraisal of that data as a basis for developing a plan of action.
In order to assist with assessment of various social situations, standardized assessment tools, or instruments, have been developed. These instruments, which are often in the form of tests, scales or questionnaires, are widely used in many fields of the social sciences.
Reference books covering the area of assessment often provide background information on an instrument or a critique of its reliability and usage, but usually do not include the test itself. In many instances, the actual test needs to be obtained from the author or publisher. In other cases, the instrument may be reproduced in a book or a journal article (particularly if it is the original article in which the assessment methodology was first reported). Outlined below are several methods for obtaining information on assessment instruments from resources available in the Lillian F. & Milford J. Harris Library.
Finding Resources Using the Online Library Catalog
If you are using Case’s online library catalog, you can find books that contain references to assessment tools by using one of the following methods:
- Select Subject Heading Search and then choose MeSH Search (Medical Subject Headings). In the search box, type the words “instruments and assessment.” This will give you a list of Medical Subject Headings on assessment. Clicking on a heading will lead you to specific titles of books or documents.
- Select Subject Heading Search and then choose Library of Congress Subject Heading Search. In the search box, enter a Library of Congress subject heading such as:
If you enter a term as a subject heading and it is not one currently used by the Library of Congress, the system will refer you to the correct heading.<
- Do a free text search by choosing Keyword Search. In the search input box, enter a term related to your topic along with a subject heading or phrase related to assessment. You can also enter the name of a specifictest or assessment tool.
- Sample keywords for assessment include:
- Aptitude tests
- Educational measurement
- Mental tests
- Personality inventory
Finding Information on Assessment in the Journal Literature
You can find out what assessment tools have been used to do research in your subject area by looking at the journal literature.
When you search in an online database you can use the same subject headings and keywords you use in a catalog search. You can also add words like “empirical or research or evaluation or assessment or instrument or scale” to your search strategy. This will help narrow the results of your search to those articles that are more research-oriented. Using the online Index or Thesaurus will help you find the specific terms and fields that are used for instruments and assessment in that particular database.
CINAHL-Plus with Full Text (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) and PsycINFO are two excellent databases that lead you to research articles with information on assessment tools or questionnaires. You will find these databases by selecting Research Databases in the Library Catalog.
Once you are in the databases, you have the option of limiting the search results to research
studies that have an assessment component.
In CINAHL-Plus with Full Text you can limit your search results to a specific type of publication, such as a research instrument. Once you have retrieved a set of records, just click on Limit Search Results. You will then get a display of limit options. To further limit your set to an instrument, choose Publication Type and highlight the word “Questionnaire” or the phrase “Research Instrument.” Then click on Limit Results Now and review the new search results.
To locate articles in PsycINFO that contain appended tests, add TM Appended to your search terms or type appended in the search box and select TM Tests & Measures from the drop-down menu.
Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HAPI) is an online resource for locating information on measurement instruments. It is available online through the Case Research Databases option in the Library Catalog.
This database allows you to search by author, title of the scale, and acronyms for the scale. You can also do a descriptor search by typing terms that relate to your research topic (self esteem, coping, locus of control, etc.).
HAPI provides information on the author, year of publication, original source of the scale, number of questions, and an abstract describing the context in which the instrument is used. When available, the reliability measures are also provided. You will not get the actual scale or assessment tool when you use this database. You may, however, get references for journal articles or books where the instrument might appear in print form.
Websites on Assessment
The majority of tests and assessment scales are not available through the web, although organizations involved in assessment do have websites that provide descriptions of tests and information on how to obtain them. Here is a list of some of the best sites:
American Psychological Association The APA responds to a large number of testing questions each day. Responses are included on their website in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section. They also have an area that highlights ongoing activities of staff and APA members who are involved in facilitating good test use. APA’s testing office does not maintain, sell, or endorse any tests. They do direct the public to available resources. If you can’t find what you need on APA’s website, you can contact the Science Directorate at (202) 336-6000 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tests and Measures in the Social Sciences: Tests Available in Compilation Volumes Helen Hough, a health sciences librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington, compiled this comprehensive website that lists information on more than 125 sources that have copies of full-text measures, including the Tests in Microfiche collection. Search by instrument topic or keyword including the phrase “compilation volumes.” Once you find a listing of a test that is appropriate, use the library catalog to find out whether one of the Case Libraries owns a copy of the book containing the test.
The Buros Institute of Mental Measurements Founded in 1939, the Buros Institute promotes appropriate test selection, utilization, and practice and works to encourage improved test development and research. The titles published by the Buros Institute are focused on providing consumers and other test users with accurate evaluations of the usefulness and effectiveness of commercially available tests. Their website includes information on how to effectively use their publications and provides links to other organizations involved in assessment issues. It also provides a link to their Test Locator, jointly developed with the Educational Testing Service. The Locator provides descriptions and availability information on over 10,000 tests.
Educational Testing ServiceThe ETS website focuses almost exclusively on educational testing. The Tests & Services Directory offers information on test preparation, administration, and appropriate usage. ETS also houses the ETS Test Collection, a database that allows you to access information on more than 20,000 published and unpublished tests and measures.
General Print Resources
The Harris Library has a range of print resources that deal almost exclusively with assessment tools. Although a few of the resources will provide the actual assessment instrument most will only offer a critique of a particular scale and provide references on its usage.
NOTE: Please click on the link to the Library Catalog for call number, location,
Advances in personality assessment. (1982- ). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Analyzes various approaches to personality assessment. Describes a variety of assessment tools as they are used in a particular topic area.
Fischer, J., & Corcoran, K. (2007). Measures for clinical practice and research: A sourcebook (4th ed., Vols. 1-2). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. A two volume set: the first volume concentrates on scales for couples, families and children, and the second volume provides scales for adults. Includes instruments in their entirety.
Goldman, B. A. (1973-). Directory of unpublished experimental mental measures (Vols. 1-9 & Title Index, vols. 1-7). Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown. This irregular publication identifies nonstandardized test instruments that are in the developmental stage.
Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of psychological assessment (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Provides brief information on purpose, format, reliability and number of test items. A journal citation is included for each scale.
Hersen, M., & Bellack, A. S. (Eds.). (1988). Dictionary of behavioral assessment techniques. New York: Pergamon Press. A quick reference guide to behavioral assessment devices. Entries are alphabetical by title of scale.
Innovations in clinical practice: A 21st century sourcebook (2009-, Vol. 1-). Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Enchange. A continuation of the annual publication Innovations in clinical practice: A source book, by Keller and Ritt.
Johnson, O. G. (1976) Tests and measurements in child development: Handbook II (Vols. 1-2). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Covers measures developed or reported between 1966 and 1974 in the area of assessment of children and adolescents. Provides brief test information, along with references and the source from which the instrument may be obtained.
Keller, P. A., & Ritt, L. G. (Eds.). (1982-2008 ). Innovations in clinical practice: A source book (Vols. 1-). Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange. This annual publication includes summaries of practice issues important to clinicians. Each volume contains a section on Instruments and Office Forms. Title changed in 2009 to Innovations in clinical practice: A 21st century sourcebook.
Keyser, D. J., & Sweetland, R. C. (Eds.). (1984-2005 ). Test critiques (Vols. 1-11). Kansas City, MO: Test Corporation of America.
Comprehensive reviews of tests used in the psychological, educational and business fields. Each review includes background information on development and context, practical applications, technical aspects, and an overall critique.
Kline, P. (1993). The handbook of psychological testing. New York: Routledge. Provides overview information on the subject
of testing. Gives background information on such topics as factor analysis, test construction, types of psychological tests and how to interpret tests.
Maddox, T. (Ed.). (2008). Tests: A comprehensive reference for assessments in psychology, education, and business (6th ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. Provides descriptions of over 700 tests sorted by subject area. Publishers’ names and addresses are provided along with the costs of the tests if they are available commercially.
The …[Eleventh] mental measurements yearbook. (1941- ). Highland Park, NJ: The Mental Measurements Yearbook. Irregular. Provides critical reviews of over 700 tests as well as descriptive material on over 400 tests. The volume is arranged alphabetically by test title. See earlier editions for older tests as well as the 1994 Supplement to this edition. More current volumes are (AVAILABLE ONLINE)
Newmark, C. S. (Ed.). (1996). Major psychological assessment instruments. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Provides in-depth examination of ten of the most widely used tests in psychological assessment practice. Information is provided on the construction, administration, and interpretation of each test. A case example is also included.
Robinson, J. P., & Shaver, P. R. (1973). Measures of social psychological attitudes (Rev. ed.). Ann Arbor, MI: Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research. Focuses on attitude scales from the social science literature which are used primarily in survey research. The actual scales are included, along with references, a comment section and information on reliability and validity.
Robinson, J. P., Shaver, P. R., & Wrightsman, L. S. (Eds.). (1991). Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes. San Diego: Academic Press.This guide to useful measures of important social science concepts, is a revised version of the 1973 title edited by Robinson and Shaver. Includes scales that can be used to measure self-esteem, well-being, social anxiety, depression, trust, values, locus of control, and authoritarianism.
Rush, A. J., First, M. B., & Blacker, D. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of psychiatric measures. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. The focus of this volume is on measures primarily designed for clinicians who work in mental health or primary care settings. The book is divided into DSM-IV diagnostic categories. The actual instrument is available on an associated CD for about half of the scales. The Handbook includes excellent introductory chapters on the criteria that should be used to choose an assessment tool.
Tests in print. (1961- ). Highland Park, NJ: Gryphon Press.This resource is a bibliographic encyclopedia of every test in psychology and achievement that has been published and is commercially available for use. Each entry consists of the test title, author, publisher, foreign adaptions, and references. Review information is not available in this source. (AVAILABLE ONLINE)
Subject Specific Print Resources
Following is a partial listing of resources in the Harris Library that cover assessment in a specific subject area. The collection also includes resources that provide information on specific tests or instruments.
NOTE: Please click on the link to the public catalog for call number, location, and availability.
Antonak, R. F., & Livneh, H. (1988). The measurement of attitudes toward people with disabilities: Methods, psychometrics, and scales. Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas.
Conoley, J. C., & Werth, E. B. (Eds.). (1995). Family assessment. Lincoln, NE: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Fisher, T. D., Davis, C. M., Yarber, W. L., & Davis, S. L. (Eds.). (2011). Handbook of sexuality-related measures (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.
Fredman, N., & Sherman, R. (1987). Handbook of measurements for marriage and family therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Harrington, R. G. (Ed). (1986). Testing adolescents: A reference guide for comprehensive psychological assessments. Kansas City: Test Corp. of America.
Jones, R. L. (Ed). (1996). Handbook of tests and measurements for black populations. Hampton, VA: Cobb & Henry Publishers.
L’Abate, L., & Bagarozzi, D. (Eds.). (1993). Sourcebook of marriage and family evaluation. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Lam, R. W., Michalak, E. E., & Swinson, R. P. (2005). Assessment scales in depression, mania, and anxiety. London; New York: Taylor & Francis.
Lichtenberg, P. A. (Ed.). (1999). Handbook of assessment in clinical gerontology. New York: Wiley.
Mangen, D. J., & Peterson, W. A. (Eds.). (1982-1984). Research instruments in social gerontology (Vols. 1-3). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Murphy, L. L., & Impara, J. C. (Eds.). (1996). Assessment of substance abuse. Lincoln, NE: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements, University of Nebraska Press.
Sajatovic, M., & Ramirez, L. F. (2003). Rating scales in mental health (2nd ed.). Hudson, OH: Lexi-Comp.
Sawin, K., Harrigan, M. P., & Woog, P. (Eds.). (1995). Measures of family functioning for research and practice. New York: Springer Publishing Co.
Stout, C. E., Levitt, J. L., & Ruben, D. H. (Eds.). (1992). Handbook for assessing and treating addictive disorders. New York: Greenwood Press.
Suzuki, L. A., & Ponterotto, J. G. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of multicultural assessment; Clinical, psychological, and education applications (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. (2nd ed., 2001, is availableONLINE)
Tate, R. L. (2010). Compendium of tests, scales and questionnaires: The practitioners guide to measuring outcomes after acquired brain impairment. Hove, UK; New York: Psychology Press.
Verhulst, F. C., & Ende, J. van der. (2006). Assessment scales in child and adolescent psychiatry. Abington, [England]: Informa; Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis.
Tests in microfiche, [microform] (1975- ). Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Available at: Health Center Library, HCL Periodicals Microfiche Cabinet. 1975-1998.These microfiche offer information on educational and psychological tests that have been cited in the literature. This includes never published tests and out-of-print tests. Users may reproduce tests for their own use from the microfiche.