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Psychological tests

Rorschach test inkblot

Psychological tests include instruments such as scales, inventories, surveys, and more, used to measure people's behavior and/or mental qualities. Psychological tests and measures are very important tools in psychology research, as they are the best way to collect data. As a psychology student you may be asked to locate and use a test as a requirement for a class. Nevertheless, psychological tests are not the easiest thing to locate and there are a couple of things you need to know before you start looking for them.

Things to know about psychological tests

Click on a collapsible panel below to find out more about psychological tests.

The person or group of professionals, who create a test decide if, when, and how this test will be made available to the public. Some people publish their tests in books and journal articles. Others select to sell copyright ownership of their tests to publishing companies, which, in turn, make them publicly available for purchase.

Hence, there are two types of psychological tests:

  • commercial tests, and
  • non-commercial tests.

The differences between the two are described in the table below.

Traits Commercial tests Non-commercial tests
Also referred to as Published or Restricted Unpublished
Cost involved Yes Usually no
Used by Authorized, licensed professionals Anyone with permission
Copyright protected Yes Usually yes
Accessed via The publisher Books, articles, databases, web
Permission to use acquired Upon purchase By contacting the author

Finding the right test for your needs is a challenging task. It requires a lot of time and effort.

To find the test that best suits your needs take the following steps:

  • Do a thorough research in the existing psychology literature to discover what tests or measures, relevant to what you want to examine, have already been used by other researchers.
  • Make sure you select the instrument that suits your needs and measures exactly what you want to measure.
  • Think about the practical implications of using this test, such as administration requirements, copyright requirements, cost.
  • Check the instrument's validity and reliability. To do this, you may search for reviews in APA PsycInfo.
  • Once you know what you are looking for, find out if it is a commercial or non-commercial instrument.
    • If you are willing to purchase a commercial instrument, contact its publisher. Keep in mind that being a student, you may not fulfill the necessary criteria for acquiring such an instrument.
    • If you have selected a non-commercial instrument, check APA PsycInfo database or other resources available in this guide to see if you can locate the instrument or part of it there.
  • If you find the instrument you need, check if there are any terms of use involved. If there are, make sure you contact the instrument's creator to get written permission to use or adapt it.

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Keep in mind that if you cannot find what you need, you can always construct your own test, survey, questionnaire, or scale with the supervision of your instructor.


When you find a test, especially if this test is freely available on the web, you need to be careful and suspicious regarding its legitimacy and authoritativeness.

To evaluate a test, you need to check the following criteria:

  • The origin of the test. Ask questions such as:
    • Who is the creator of this test?
    • Who uploaded it where you found it?
    • Does this person have the required knowledge, training, or background?
  • The purpose for which this test was produced. Ask questions such as:
    • Was this test created for entertainment purposes?
    • Was this test created for scientific purposes?
    • Who is this test designed for?
  • The test's terms and conditions of use. Ask questions such as:
    • Is this a commercial or non-commercial test?
    • Has the test been uploaded in accordance with its terms and conditions?
    • Have any copyright restrictions been violated?
    • Has the test been tampered with?
  • The test's credibility. Ask questions such as:
    • Is this test a new or a well-known test?
    • Has it been subjected to research?
    • Have the test's reliability and validity been tested?
    • Is there enough evaluative literature about it?

To find information about tests, you may consult books, articles, databases as well as the websites of various organizations, such as the ones provided below.

► General information about tests

Visit the following websites to find general information about tests, such as finding tests, best practices and proper use of tests, testing standards as well as test descriptions, authors, and publication information.

► Test reviews

Visit the following websites to find reviews on various tests.

► Test publishers

The following are the websites of some important publishers of psychological commercial tests and assessment measures.

How to find full text tests

Click on a collapsible panel below to find out how to locate full text tests.

APA PsycInfo is a database that indexes psychology literature. Even though it is not a per se test database it may contain tests, or portions of tests, included in published articles indexed in it. To search for such tests, you may use the database's "Tests and Measures" field, which allows you to search for tests and measurements used in a particular research paper. Note that not all articles will provide access to the full tests used. If the full test is included, then APA PsycInfo records it as an "Appended" item. Therefore, to find tests in APA PsycInfo, you may follow the steps below:

  • Go to the "Advanced Search".
  • Type "Appended" in the first search box and select "TM Tests & Measures" from the drop-down menu next to the search box.
  • Type a keyword or the name of the test you are looking for in the second search box.
  • Click on "Search".

For more information on how to use the "Tests & Measures" field, you may consult this article from the APA Publishing Blog, the short video on the left side of this page taken from the APA Publishing Training YouTube channel, or the "Important search fields" section on our APA PsycInfo Guide.

Some psychological tests may be found for free on the web. To locate such tests you may search for your topic (e.g., anxiety) combining it with additional keywords, such as "test", "measurement", "questionnaire", "scales", "assessment", etc. Alternatively, you may visit any of the websites listed below.

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The library has made every effort to check the quality of the material provided in the websites listed below. Nevertheless, keeping track of changes taking place in the content of the websites is impossible. As a result, always evaluate any tests or other material you discover on the web, before using it for academic purposes.