Social Welfare Library
UC Berkeley
227 Haviland Hall #6000
Berkeley, CA 94720

Phone: 510-642-4432
photograph: circulation desk at the Social Welfare Library in Haviland Hall

Using library databases to identify
tests and measures:a few tips

You can use the library’s CSA and EBSCO journal databases to search for literature about tests and measurements. You can use the results to identify tests and measurements that may be useful for your research, or to see how particular tests and measurements have been used. Occasionally, you can find full-text copies of tests.

CSA (Cambridge Scientific Abstracts) database

CSA Illumina provides one of the best search engines for searching tests and measurements. CSA Illumina encompasses a number of subject-specific databases, which you can search individually or collectively.

PsycInfo

PsycInfo is a psychology-related CSA database that specifically indexes tests and measures. Its advanced search page allows you to search by test, study methodology, target population, and so on. While PsycInfo is primarily for psychology research, its targeted search capability makes it especially useful for identifying tests and measures that may be relevant for social work research.

To search PsycInfo for studies on depression, for example, that use or cite a test instrument, do the following: 

  • In the first search box row, type "depression."  Select either the "TI Title" or "DE Descriptor" choice from the drop down menu.

  • In the second search box row, type "*". Select the "TM Tests and Measures" choice from the drop down menu. The asterisk will retrieve all records that have an entry in the tests and measures field, including tests, scales, subscales, instruments, and so on. 

CSA Illumina

CSA Illumina’s social sciences databases include PsycInfo, Social Services Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, and ERIC (education) abstracts. Except for PsycInfo, these databases do not specifically index tests and measures. You must search for them indirectly, using keywords.

To search Sociological Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts, and ERIC simultaneously for articles and books that cite or use test instruments, click the Multi Social Welfare link:

  • First select these databases on the search engine screen.  Click on the word "show" on the line that says, "Now Selected: Multiple Databases (show)."  De-select all databases, except Sociological Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts, and ERIC.

  • In the first search box row, type "depression."  Select the "TI Title" or “DE Descriptor”  choices from the drop down menu.

  • In the second search box row, type "test*" in the first box, "scale*" in the second box, and "questionnaire*" or "instrument*" in the third box. Select the "AB Abstracts" choice from the drop down menu.

The search results will display records that concern the subject of depression and reference a specific test instrument.  The test may be used as the basis of the article or book or it may just be cited.

EBSCO (Social Work Abstracts) database

EBSCO offers a range of different subject databases, but it does not provide a tool specifically for searching tests and measurements.  Instead, one must enter words such as "test", "scale", "instrument", "questionnaire" in a search box.

  • For example, to search for tests or scales that measure depression, use the following approach to obtain targeted results.

  • Open the Social Work Abstracts database. Social Work Abstracts is the default subject selection. To select other subject databases, click “Choose Databases” and select the relevant databases.

  • In the first search box, type "depression."  Select either the "TI Title" or "AB Abstract" choice from the drop down menu.

  • In the second search box, type "test*".  The asterisk is to retrieve all forms of the word "test." Select the "TX All Text" choice from the drop down menu.

  • In the third search box, type a synonym of the word "test", such as "scale*".  Other words that might produce good results would be "questionnaire" or "instrument."  Select the "TX All Text" choice from the drop down menu.

The search results will display records related to the subject of depression and that reference a specific test instrument.  The test may be used as the basis of the article or book or it may just be cited.

   
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