PubMedThis link opens in a new windowPubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine, provides access to millions of citations from MEDLINE and additional life science journals. PubMed includes links to many sites providing full text articles and other related resources.
Databases to find articles about assessment tools.
CINAHL with Full TextThis link opens in a new windowCINAHL covers nursing, physical and occupation therapy, dietetics, health sciences librarianship, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and other allied health disciplines. In addition, this database offers access to health care books, nursing dissertations,selected conference proceedings, standards of practice, educational software, audiovisuals and book chapters.
ScopusThis link opens in a new windowSCOPUS indexes over 17,600 journals and 29 book series in the life, health, physical, and social sciences.
ERIC (ProQuest)This link opens in a new windowCoverage: 1966-present
The ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) database is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Edcation to provide extensive access to educational-related literature. ERIC provides coverage of journal articles, conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, dissertations, reports, audiovisual media, bibliographies, directories, books and monographs. You may also search ERIC through the US Dept. of Education portal at https://eric.ed.gov/
PsycINFOThis link opens in a new windowCoverage: 1806-present
This database is published by the American Psychological Association and provides comprehensive indexing and abstracts of the international psychological literature from the 1800s to the present. Documents indexed include journals, articles, books, dissertations and more.
Mental Measurements YearbookThis link opens in a new windowSimultaneous user limit: 12
Mental Measurements Yearbook provides a guide to over 2,000 contemporary testing instruments, allowing users to evaluate test products within the areas of psychology, education, business, and leadership. Intended for a wide audience, from novice test consumers to professionals.
Find Assessment Tools
To retrieve all tools held in the library goto the Advanced Search in the catalogue and:
Do a keyword search using the term "ATOOL" in the first box
Limit to "Avialable in the Library" just above the resutls, this will give you the full list of tools currently available at the U of M Health Science Library
To retrieve a specific tool in the library, goto the Advanced Search in the catalogue and:
Change the field (first box that says "Any") to "Title," search on the tool name, i.e. Arthritis Impact Measurement
You may also want to add the term "ATOOL" to the second box, leave the field as "Any"
Select and click on the appropriate title from the displayed list
Searching for Assessment Tools in Databases
Tips on finding articles on assessment tools (and sometimes the assessment tool itself) in PubMed, CINAHL, SCOPUS, ERIC, and PsycINFO
Most tools have unique names. Put the name of the assessment tool in quotation marks to gain a more precise search, i.e. "action research arm test"
Try a free-text search. A free-text search retrieves search terms located anywhere in a database record but these searches are very sensitive and will retrieve records not on topic (false retrieval). You can limit searches to specific fields to improve relevancy. Try limiting your search to these fields: TI - Title; AB - Abstract; DE - Descriptor (CINAHL, PsycINFO, ERIC); MeSH (Pubmed); IN - Instrumentation (CINAHL); KC - Key Concept (PsycINFO - tool names sometimes included in this field); TM - Tests and Measures (PsycINFO). Note: check the help section of each database to see what fields are available and how to search them.
A tool may have a variety of name endings, avoid including the endings in your free-text searches. For example when searching for the Barthel Index it may be called the Barthel Score, Barthel Measure, etc. - the best search may be Barthel
Since tools tend to have unique names, use the most unique parts in your search and omit the rest. This will keep you from missing articles that had tool description variations you may not be apparent. Example: Mini Mental State Examination / Mini Mental Status Examination - the best search may be: mini mental, especially in the TI, AB, DE, MeSH, IN, KC and TM fields.
Avoid acronym searches. Not all articles may include the acronym, may use a variant of the acronym or the acronym may represent an unrelated phrase thus resulting in a false retrieval.
Be careful with phrase searches. The longer the phrase, the less likely you are to find items that match the phrase exactly. Pick a specific part of the tool name and search it. See “mini mental state examination” example above.
For validity or reliability articles on a tool, do a free-text search with these terms truncated (place an asterisk at end of word root - Example: valid*) and then AND the set with the instrument search set. Example of a validity / reliability search of the the Barthel Index: (valid* OR reliab*) AND Barthel
CINAHL: The best simple search (in Basic Search mode) is to search IN followed by the name of the tool, i.e "IN Barthel". IN is the code for the instrumentation field that indexes assessment tools. The best thorough search: switch to Advanced Search; add a row; type the name of the assessment tool in each search box, switch all of the the operator boxes to OR; switch one field to TI (Title), one to AB (Abstract), one to MW (Word is Subject Heading), and one to IN (Instrumentation).
PsycINFO and ERIC: PsycINFO and ERIC have Thesaurus terms for many mental assessment tools, start your search with the Thesaurus (located in Search Tools). In PscyINFO there is also a Tests and Measures field (TM) that indexes these resources. If the tool is not in the Thesuarus then do a free-text search.
Google: Some tools are available for free on the Internet. Use Google to locate them by phrase searching (place quotation marks around the most unique part of the tool name). Example: “functional abilities confidence”
There are two parts to searching for a tool on a specific outcome.
Outcomes: Use the Thesaurus to search for the outcome or concept that you would like to measure. Example: activities of daily living, quality of life, motor skills
Measures: Here are a list of terms that when combined with an outcome will most likely retrieve articles where measures (assessment tools) are used: outcome measure(s), questionnaire(s), scale(s), measure(s), inventory, checklist(s), index, indices, test(s), instrument(s), measurement, research instrument(s), psychometrics, treatment outcome(s), outcome assessment, outcomes research.
Recommended Search Strategy
First use the Thesaurus with the above terms to facilitate identifying terms specific to the database.
Supplement with free-text searching to increase retrieval sensitivity.
Combine the outcomes set with the measures set using AND
Note: use free-text searching with caution to avoid extremely high retrieval numbers.
Search the name of the tool. Use quotation marks around the name of the tool to be more percise, i.e "Barthel Index".
Search for then terms reliability, validity, "sensitivity AND specificity", "predictive value"
In databases that use subject headings search for corresponding subject headings for reliability, validity, "sensitivity AND specificity", "predictive value," add those to your keyword search for those terms using "OR"
Combine the set with the results of the tool name search and filter search to locate articles testing the validity of the tools
Neil John Maclean
Health Sciences Library
University of Manitoba
727 McDermot Avenue