I need to look into finding an empirically valid assessment tool for my research project.


I need to look into finding an empirically valid assessment tool for my research project. Since this is something I previously have not had the need to research, I was wondering if you could give me a starting point. I would appreciate any information or advice.

Answered By: Linda Kern
Last Updated: Dec 12, 2016     Views: 16

It's nice to hear from you. Here are my suggestions:

  • Begin with the research studies you are gathering for your literature review. Identify those studies that successfully measured things similar to what you may want to measure, in a similar population. Then identify the instruments they used and what specifically was measured. Each study should also include information in the Method section about the validity and reliability of the instruments. This will create a list of instruments that may be appropriate for your purpose.
  • Next, determine whether the instruments will be available to you. The Psychology Department has a collection of assessments. You can ask Kathy Little about them. A limited number of assessments may be available on the open web. Others can be obtained by contacting the author for permission. Authors who are in the process of establishing the validity of an instrument may allow it to be used for free by other researchers. The last option is to purchase an assessment from a publisher, which may be costly, but the cost could be spread across the thesis group.
  • Once you've tentatively identified an instrument, then you can return to the studies where you originally identified the instrument and gather the references of the articles discussed in the Method to establish reliability and validity. Obtain the full text of the references and review the data yourself to be sure it is a good fit for your study. If the instrument is not widely used, you will want to critically appraise the studies.
  • Additional information can be gathered from Mental Measurements Yearbook, which is also linked in the Psychology LibGuide. "MMY contains information essential for a complete evaluation of test products within... psychology... All MMY entries contain descriptive information (e.g., test purpose, publisher, pricing) and edited review(s) written by leading content area experts. To be included in the MMY, a test must be commercially available." For example, a search of the Beck Depression Inventory II yields two extensive referenced reviews plus additional information on its purpose, administration, etc.
  • PsycINFO can also be very valuable. The advanced search allows you to search by Tests and Measures. A search for the Beck Depression Inventory II yields 6,000 articles, including reliability and validity studies and studies which used the assessment. These can be further limited by the specific factors you're interested in.

Glad to be of help!

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