Accessing Psychological Tests at The Graduate Center

A critical skill for graduate psychology students to develop is the ability to locate psychological measurement tools. While numerous commercial websites such as Psychological Assessment Resources (PAR) and Pearson provide high-quality testing instruments, there are a few barriers affecting students. One is high cost, while another is the inability to obtain a clinical test kit without professional credentials.

One viable alternative is noncommercial (unpublished) tests! These are developed by researchers and are often published in scholarly literature, and not released by a commercial publisher. You can often obtain the tests for free, but sometimes permission from the creator(s) is needed to use them in research and teaching.

The Graduate Center Mina Rees Library is pleased to offer both access to many reputable testing instruments and research librarians happy to assist you in locating these resources. Stephen Zweibel, the Library’s psychology subject specialist, maintains a research guide on this topic, which includes a variety of tests and data available through the Library, government websites, and on the open web.

As a research librarian with a background in psychology, my favorite library resource for locating psychological measurements is PsycTESTS. An online database of the American Psychological Association (APA), PsycTESTS boasts nearly 55,000 test records from a diversity of topical areas, such as Developmental Measures and Personality Assessments. The tests are a mix of commercial and noncommercial, and about 50% of the records include the partial or full test. There are many ways to search for tests, including by title, author, age group, or PsycINFO classification (subject area). To learn if you can use a test, check the “permissions” field in the full text document; many are free to use in non-commercial research and teaching without written permission. Not all tests include the full documentation required for administering and scoring, however, and in these cases I would recommend locating and reading the full article from the citation provided in the record. It can be helpful to contact author(s) directly for additional information, too.

Another database recommended for information about tests is Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI). HaPI boasts over 200,000 records detailing a wealth of test and measurement instruments in the health and behavioral sciences. There are many types of instruments available, ranging from questionnaires to projective techniques to vignette scenarios. Not every article will contain the test itself: some only include information about the test. A helpful search limit is the source code box, allowing you to limit to primary and/or secondary sources.

If you’re looking for journal articles featuring a specific test, PsycINFO is an excellent choice. For example, to look up articles featuring the Beck Anxiety Inventory you can type “Beck Anxiety Inventory” into the “Tests & Measures” search box. This strategy won’t necessarily yield the full test, but you’ll see examples of how mental health professionals used the instrument in their own research. You can further limit your results to empirical studies via the “Methodology” box on the bottom right of the search screen.

Once you acquire test(s) you’d like to use in your research it’s time to head to the CUNY Human Subjects Research Protection Program (HRPP) website! There you’ll find all you need to know about conducting research with human participants while enrolled at The Graduate Center.


About the Author

Kate Angell is an Adjunct Reference Librarian at The Graduate Center.