Getting Started with APA PsycTests: What Is It, and How Can It Help Me?

This is the first post in a series for anyone wanting to become familiar with APA PsycTests®. Today we’ll cover what you’ll find in APA PsycTests, how to begin your search for a test, and resources to learn more about searching APA PsycTests. Future posts will cover how you can use a test that you find, and tips for navigating the platform.


Are you looking for a test to use in your research, or planning to develop your own? We have a database that can help!

APA PsycTests provides detailed information about the use of thousands of tests, scales, and measures reported in the behavioral sciences literature. Designed to connect researchers, students, educators, librarians, and practitioners with assessment tools, APA PsycTests is an ideal starting point for a new research project, helping you to avoid “reinventing the wheel” as you’re considering your metrics.

APA PsycTests’ unique focus is identifying and describing unpublished behavioral science measures, making previously “invisible” tests easier to discover. Each Test Record captures all the important details about the test from the source document, which is typically a peer-reviewed journal or book.

What will I find in APA PsycTests?

  • More than 61,000 tests, scales, and measures — with more added each month
  • Searchable metadata provides all the key test details, including but not limited to:
    • Description (analogous to an article’s abstract)
    • Purpose
    • Permissions information (Note: many of the indexed tests are freely available for research or educational use)
  • When available, the APA PsycTests Test Record will also include the following information:
    • Reliability, validity, factor analysis, and other psychometrics
    • Full content of test (available for approximately half of the test records)
    • Supporting documentation (e.g., answer sheet, student/instructor guides)
    • Source document links (e.g., APA PsycInfo® record, article DOI)
    • Citation links to any related source document describing the test’s development, review, and/or use in research
    • Other versions (i.e., test variations, adaptations, and/or translations)

How should I begin searching for a test?

If you’re already familiar with APA PsycInfo and other APA Databases, you can jump in immediately and use the same search strategies to find content in APA PsycTests.

Search APA PsycTests independently of other databases. Only a small subset of common fields is available when searching more than one database at a time. However, searching APA PsycTests by itself provides access to the complete set of searchable APA PsycTests fields, which allows you to dig deeper and more precisely into all the data contained in the test records.

Search by test name, acronym, or topic. Use the Test Name field to search for information about a known test (e.g., “Mini Social Phobia Inventory” or its acronym “Mini SPIN”). To begin browsing for a test related to your topic, go beyond the basic Any Field search by adding Index Terms or Keywords fields to find more relevant results in less time.

Use Index Terms (a.k.a. Subject Headings) in your topic search. In addition to the author’s keywords, each test record has been assigned index terms from the APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms®. This controlled vocabulary standardizes a wide variety of concepts and related terminology appearing in the literature, helping you to search more efficiently.

A few sample searches:

  • Topic: Coping mechanisms for stress in minority populations
    • Search: {Minority} in Any Field AND {Stress and Coping Measures} in Index Terms
  • Topic: Mental health of individuals who provide care for a family member with Alzheimer’s
    • Search: {Alzheimer’s Disease} in Index Terms AND {Caregivers} in Index Terms
  • Topic: Develop a test to assess dimensions of mindfulness
    • Search: {Mindfulness} in Index Terms AND {Test Construction} in Index Terms

If you’re new to using index terms, you might try experimenting to see how the results list can change for the same terms when searching the Index Terms field compared to the Keywords field and Any Field.

How can I learn more?

These resources can help you learn more about searching APA PsycTests:

Remember, this post is the first in a short series with more to come!  Sign up for email alerts if you’d like to be notified when new posts are published (use the “Email Subscribers” box in the right column of this page).

Questions?

For specific questions about searching or using APA PsycTests, contact your institutional librarian or email us at psycinfo@apa.org.

Patti Avellanet