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Graduate Nursing: Tests & Measures

Library resources to support research and evidence-based practice in the ELMSN, MSN, FNP, and DNP programs

Overview of Tests & Measures

If your program has a capstone project, you may need a test or measure to use in your project. This page covers:

  • Tips to locate tests and measures
  • How to find validity and reliability studies
  • List of open-access tests and measures
  • Guidance on following copyright and getting permission

Locating Tests

To find instruments relevant to your research project, look at articles on similar topics in peer-reviewed journals. The Methods section of those articles will describe how they measured the constructs you're interested in. This will help you in two ways: you will understand the entire topic more deeply, and also you will get ideas for instruments you could possibly use yourself. For example, if you're studying the topic of cognitive functioning, you would read articles and note which cognitive inventories were used and why.  

  1. Start by conducting a keyword search on your topic using scholarly databases or the library catalog
  2. Use advanced search techniques like subject searching, truncation, and Boolean AND/OR operators to make your search more precise. 
  3. Limit your results to scholarly/peer-reviewed articles. Enter keywords from your topic on the top one or two lines. Then, add a search string such as (survey OR instrument OR scale) on a separate line and limit this line to the AB Abstract of the article, as shown in the example below. These terms might also help: questionnaire, test, measurement, measure, assessment, inventory   

example of instrument search

Validity and Reliability of Instruments

You will need to show that the instrument you've chosen is valid and reliable. There are scholarly studies devoted to assessing the validity and reliability of instruments. To find these:

  • Choose a scholarly database like the ones linked in this guide.
  • Do an Advanced search for the name of your instrument.
    • Note: you may need to put it in quotation marks to search for that exact phrase.
  • Add another line to your advanced search. Type (valid* OR reliab*). Change the drop-down to search in only the AB abstract.
    • The asterisk * tells the database to look for any words starting with those letters. This means it will search for valid, validity, validation, validated, etc.
    • Searching in the abstract means that the validity/reliability information will be very prominent in the study. This improves your chances of the search results being helpful to you.

screenshot of validity and reliability search

If your instrument is related to mental health, check the Mental Measurements Yearbook. It compiles reviews of many psychological assessments. Here is a list of the reviewed instruments: https://buros.org/tests-reviewed-mental-measurements-yearbook-series. If your instrument is listed there, contact the Brenau library for access. 

Your Librarian

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Emily Thornton
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