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Finding and Evaluating Tests and Measures


Purpose of the guide:

This guide teaches you techniques to search for and evaluate tests, measures and scales using databases in the fields of nursing, medicine and psychology. When completed, you will be able to:

  • Define tests, measures and scales
  • Give examples of well-known tests, measures and scales
  • Outline the importance of using and evaluating these tools

As a "guide on the side", the Evaluating Tests and Measures Exercise will take you through the process of accessing and evaluating tests and measures.

Content: The step-by-step written instructions are illustrated by video clips, without audio.
Duration: A walk through following the Step-by-Step instructions will take 30-45 minutes.

About Tests and Measures

What are tests, measures and scales, and how are they used?

Tests, measures, scales and instruments are tools used in the research process. They are used to collect results or data on a measurable value.

Examples of tests and measures

The Apgar Test

  • In the 1950s a physician named Virginia Apgar created a test to quickly assess the health of newborn children. The test gives scores on five variables which help to determine if the baby requires immediate medical attention. The APGAR test has become a commonly used and well-known tool in hospitals.

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

  • Created by Aaron Beck and colleagues, this test measures the severity of depression in individuals. The test is a set of 21 multiple choice questions that patients answer themselves based on their thoughts and experiences.

Why should you find and use established tests, measures and scales?

If appropriate to your research, using an existing measure can save you time. If the measure has been shown to be reliable and valid, it can increase the quality of your research.

Why should you evaluate tests, measures and scales?

Before using a scale or a test in research, check to see how other authors have used the scale.

  • How effective did authors find the scale or test?
  • Do other authors share insights regarding validity, reliability or reproducibility?

Finding the right test can take time! Be patient and find the scale or test that works best for your research.