Graduate Student Resources: Finding Surveys

Quantitative Methodology

A graduate student has enough to worry about when piecing together a thesis or dissertation, without having to wonder where to find a test instrument worthy of that thesis.  Where do you start looking for graduate student resources, in order to find a list of surveys or to get advice on identification, selection, and statistical analysis for such a survey?  How does a graduate student escape his or her own anxiety, in locating, distributing, and analyzing a test survey about anxiety?

Finding Surveys, Test Instruments, and Measures.  Many university libraries come equipped with subscriptions to the Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY) and Tests in Print (TIP) as part of their graduate student resources.  Those are great, but bear in mind they do not include the actual test instruments—just information about their use (EBSCO, 2013a).  You can find many examples of test instruments online as well, but those too are already deployed for someone else’s project, not yours (Plous, 2013).  If you are lucky, you will find some which are public, downloadable, and ready to use (Reifman, 2013).  You may also be fortunate enough to find a journal article with the actual survey you need, appended—a video tip at USF’s Gleeson Library can show you how to use PsychINFO for just that (University of San Francisco, n.d.).  Still, do you really have time to hunt and peck online while you really want to focus on the thesis that will launch your career?

Creating/Modifying Surveys, Test Instruments, and Measures.  Let’s say your dissertation needs to measure something never measured before—now what do you do?  You’ve looked through your university library’s generous graduate student resources to no avail; you’ve found some mentions of similar scales, but not the one you need to put your paper over the top.  Typically, you may find something really close, and hope you can modify it ever so slightly without losing its proven validity (otherwise your study will be about developing the test instrument—not answering and proving your research question).  How can you be sure your modified test instrument will be all that you hope it will be?  (from Bryant, 2003; Catanzaro & Mearns, 1990; Ritchie & Bryant, 2012).

Everything You Need in One Place.  Don’t spend valuable time searching high and low for surveys, instruments, advice, usage, and analysis, when you can rely on one source for these graduate student resources—and concentrate your efforts on your goal!  If your discipline is specific enough (e.g. psychology), you might find much of it via membership in a society or institution related to your discipline (American Psychological Association, 2013; EBSCO, 2013b).  Expert advice though, is good to have on retainer as opposed to wondering where to find that one answer to that one question at the last minute.  Statistics Solutions has both a comprehensive set of survey instruments and survey help and analysis when you need it (Statistics Solutions, 2012a; Statistics Solutions, 2012b).  A graduate student has enough to worry about when piecing together a thesis or dissertation, without having to wonder where to find a test instrument worthy of their research.  Try the links below and spend less time wondering, and more time launching your future:

Directory of Survey Instruments

Survey Help and Analysis


American Psychological Association. (2013). FAQ/finding information about psychological tests. Available at

EBSCO. (2013a). Mental measurements yearbook with tests in print. Available at

EBSCO. (2013b). PsycTESTS: Repository for psychological tests and measures. Available at

Plous, S. (2013). Online social psychology studies. Available at

Reifman, A. (2013). Questionnaire instrument compendium (QIC). Available at

Ritchie, T. D., & Bryant, F. B. (2012). Positive state mindfulness: A multidimensional model of mindfulness in relation to positive experience. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(3), 150-181. doi:10.5502/ijw.v2.i3.1

Statistics Solutions. (2012a). Directory of survey instruments. Available at

Statistics Solutions. (2012b). Survey help and analysis. Available at

University of San Francisco. (n.d.). Tests, measures, instruments, & surveys.,+Measures,+Instruments+%26+Surveys

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