Skip to Main Content

Educational and Psychological Instruments

Links to databases and other resources for finding education, psychological, and social sciences testing instruments. Also provides explanations, search tips, and other advice for locating and using instruments.


If you have a citation that only tells you where and when an instrument was published, the most efficient method for obtaining it will depend on whether it was published within a journal article, a book, or in some other way. Below are recommended steps for each type of publication. 

Getting Copies of Instruments that are Published in Journal Articles

If your test was published in a journal article:

  1. Try Citation Linker to see if Penn State has an online copy. Type in the article title, journal title, and other information. 
  2. If that doesn't work:
    • Try the E-Journal list to see if Penn State subscribes to an online version of the journal. Type in the name of the source (whole) journal, such as the "Journal of Clinical Psychology."
    • Try Google Scholar.
    • Use iLLiad (Interlibrary Loan) to request journals article that are not available online.  

Getting Copies of Instruments that are Published in Books

If your test was published in a book:

  1. Try to find a free preview of the book in Google Book Search.
  2. If that doesn't work:
    • Try the library catalog to see if Penn State owns the book.
      • Click on "I WANT IT" to request books from other campuses.
    • If Penn State doesn't own the book, try WorldCat to see if any other libraries have it.
      • Click on "Request Item through Interlibrary Loan" to request books from other libraries.

Contacting Instrument Authors and Publishers

If you aren't able to obtain an instrument by other means, you can sometimes get it directly from the author or publisher. 

First, find the instrument author's current "institutional affiliation":

  • In a book: look for the author’s institution or e-mail address within the text pertaining to the instrument; in a "contributors" section at the front or back of the book; or in biographical information on the cover, backside, or first few pages of the book.
  • In a journal article: look for contact information within a note on the first or last page of the article.
  • Try to find the authors' personal or institutional websites by using Google or another search engine.
  • If you can't find authors' websites by Googling their names, visit the website of the company or university where they work. You may be able to find contact information in a “directory,” a list of employees or faculty, or on the web page of their department.

For commercially-distributed tests, the best alternative is to contact the publisher. Here are some of the largest test publishers in the United States: 

Getting Copies of Instruments that are Available Online

Some instruments, especially ones that are created/used by government agencies or universities, can be found with Google or other search engines. 

CAUTION: Anyone can post something on a website, so there are many unofficial, altered, and incomplete instruments online. For professional and research purposes, you should use versions posted by the correct authors and publishers.  Here are some tips for finding them:

  1. Search for the official name of the test.
  2. When sifting through search results, choose ones that match the author, publisher, institutional affiliation, and other known details about your instrument.
  3. When in doubt, contact your librarian or professor to confirm you've found the right test.