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Finding Psychological Tests

A guide to what tests are and your rights and responsibilities in using them as well as finding information about published and unpublished tests.


This guide covers:

  • What tests are and your rights and responsibilities in using them
  • Finding information about published tests and getting hold of them
  • Finding unpublished tests

What are tests?

Psychological tests are instruments that allow researchers to measure a particular variable such as memory, intelligence or personality. The UK’s Institute of Work Psychology defines a test as:

"A brief sample of someone's behaviour, obtained under standard conditions, and scored according to a fixed set of rules that provide a numeric score or classification" (Myors & Carstairs, 2001).

Tests fall into two types: published, (meaning commercially available for purchase through a test supplier) and unpublished, that is, not commercially available and usually found in journal articles or books.

All testing tools are considered copyrighted and you must seek permission from the copyright holder before using the tool.

Many tests also require you to be professionally trained and accredited in order to use them. For this reason, the University library does not hold any tests. If you are qualified to use them, there is a small small collection in the School of Psychology (see Published Tests below for more information)

Published Tests

Whether you are trying to locate a specific test or find a particular type, your first port of call should be one of the standard test reference works

Maddox, T. (2008) Tests. 6th ed. Austin,TX: Pro-Ed, Inc. Barnes Library BF 176/T

A bibliographic encyclopedia containing information on all tests available in the English language in psychology, education, and business. Each entry includes the test title and author, the intended population, the tests purpose, the major features, the administration time, the scoring method, the cost and availability, and the primary publisher.

Test Reviews Online: 

This search engine allows you to search reviews of tests exactly as they appear in the 9th through the most recent Mental Measurements Yearbooks. To purchase the actual test materials, you will need to contact the test publisher(s).

Some other useful titles:

Kurpius, S.E.R. and Stafford, M.E. (2006) Testing and measurement: a user-friendly guide. London: SAGE. Main Library LB 3051/K

Students can master testing and measurement through a three-stage learning process presented in this book: presentation of information, modelling, and practice with direct feedback.

Kline, P. (2000) Handbook of psychological testing. 2nd ed. London: Routledge. ebook: available via FindIt@Bham.

Covers psychometric theory, kinds of psychological tests, applied testing, & evaluation of the published tests.

Miller, D.C. et al. (1991) Handbook of research design and social measurement. 5th ed. London: SAGE. Main Library H 62.M44 

Comprehensive coverage of all aspects of design and analysis; Pt. 7 discusses specific scales and indexes.

Loewenthal, K.M. (2001) An introduction to psychological tests and scales. 2nd ed. London: UCL Press. ebook available via FindIt@Bham

Step-by-step guide to constructing reliable and valid measurement tools.

More books on psychological testing are available in the library at classmark BF 431.

Other key reference texts include:

Tests in Print (TIP) (Buros Institute) and Test Critiques (Pro-Ed, Inc), descriptions of each can be found here:

If you wish to use them, you can sign up to the SCONUL access scheme ( to visit other academic libraries to view them.


Once you have identified an appropriate test, you will need to locate it.

First, make sure you’ve ascertained that you are qualified to use the test you have chosen.

Next, check whether a copy is held in the School of Psychology Test Library. The list of tests held by the School will shortly be available either on the School website or Canvas, but is currently held in the Clinical Office (Room 208, Frankland) and can be logged out to you. The loan out period is 2-weeks and you will be asked to sign a form to loan out the test. If you are planning to use a test for the full three years of your degree, you should consider purchasing it out of grant funds. Theresa Powell looks after the library and can buy tests for you but only if they will be useful to others in the school. Otherwise, they need to be bought from project funds. Contact the Clinical Office (email: if you have any queries.

Test suppliers may be found online simply by Googling the test name. Alternatively, check the websites of these suppliers:

  • Western Psychological Services A leading publisher of assessments, books, software, and therapy tools for professionals in psychology, education, and allied fields.
  • Pearson Assessment: An important source of testing material, with many products adapted to UK needs. The focus is on Psychology, Allied Health and Education. 

Unpublished Tests

Unpublished tests are those which are not commercially available. However, they can often be found in books or journal articles. It may well be possible for you to use or adapt them, with the permission of the author or copyright holder.

Two of the most popular directories of unpublished tests are:

Goldman, B.A. and Mitchell, D.F. (eds.) (1974- ) Directory of Unpublished Experimental Mental Measures. Vol. 1-. Washington: American Psychological Association. Barnes Ref q BF 431/G

ETS Test Collection

The database of the US based Educational Testing Service, covering more than 25,000 tests and other measurement devices, from the early 1900s to the present. The are from a variety of U.S. publishers and individual test authors, along with tests from Canada, Great Britain and Australia.

You can also find psychological tests and measures using databases such as PsycINFO and CINAHL Plus.

PsycINFO records include the tests and measurements that were administered as part of the research.

  • To find material about tests and measures:

If an article is about a type of test, e.g. a meta-analysis of the Beck Depression Inventory, then this will be indexed in the subject headings and keywords, not the Tests and Measures field as no actual testing was carried out.

  • To find material where specific tests and measures have been used:

Click on Search Fields. Type the name of the test/measure into the search box and select the tm (tests and measures) field by ticking the box, click search.

  • To find work where the test is appended:

If the full text of the test is included in an article/book or other work, PsycINFO records it as "Appended". To find tests using this field: Go to Multi-Field Search and type ‘Appended’ into the search box. Then select ‘Tests and Measures’ from the drop-down menu. Next, type a relevant keyword or test name into the next search box and click on Search.

CINAHL allows you to search for tests (or ‘research instruments’) in several ways.

  • To find a research instrument itself:

Search by Publication Type, and type Research Instrument into the search box. You can then undertake a search on your topic, using Subject Terms or keyword searches, and combine the two results sets with AND. 

Alternatively, undertake your Subject Term/keyword search, and then refine the results using the Source Type refine option ( Click on ‘Show More’ to display the ‘Research Instruments’ tick box).

  • To find work that uses a specific research instrument:

Search using the Instrumentation Field. Enter the specific name of the research instrument into the search box and select ‘Instrumentation’ from the drop-down list. Click Search.

  • To find material about research instruments:

Untick the “Suggest Subject Terms” box, enter the specific name of the research instrument and click search.

Useful links & more help

American Psychological Association: Finding Information about Tests:

British Psychological Society: Psychological Testing Centre: This resource provides information and services relating to standards in tests and testing for test takers, test users, test developers and members of the public. 

Information appointments For further help in researching please contact our Skills Advisors:

For UG and PGT students please contact :

For Doctoral Researchers please contact :

Other relevant guides are available at our A-Z of Guides :

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