Getting Started with APA PsycTests: FAQ’s – Using a Test You’ve Found

Intended for users who want to become familiar with APA PsycTests®, this post is the second in a short series — with more to come! For an overview of content basics and how to begin searching APA PsycTests, we recommend reading the first post: What is APA PsycTests, and How Can It Help Me?


You’ve found a test in the APA PsycTests database that you’d like to use in your research and are maybe wondering, “Now what?”

The FAQ below explains how to use the APA PsycTests database record (“test record”) to find important information and related clues to help identify your next steps. The test record includes two separate but related tabs: Test Profile and Source Citations.  

  • The Test Profile tab displays the subset of fields used to describe the test (note that not all fields will appear for every test).
  • The Source Citations tab displays reference information for research related to the test, including any available links to the publication sources.

How am I allowed to use a test I find in APA PsycTests?

Many tests are freely available for research and educational purposes. This is indicated whenever the Permissions field in the test record states, “May use for Research/Teaching.” If you have any doubt about whether your intended use would be appropriate, contact the test publisher.

To see a brief indication of acceptable test use, find the Permissions field in the test record. If the full content of the test is available as a PDF – as it is for approximately half of the tests indexed – it will contain the comprehensive Permissions statement on the first page. Review all permissions information carefully for important details about appropriate use.

The Permissions field follows the Source Used field in the test record’s Test Profile tab.

The Permissions field follows the Source Used field in the test record’s Test Profile tab.

I have a question about using the test. Who should I contact?

It depends on the type of question!

For test administration questions (e.g., availability of scoring rubric or supplemental materials, interpreting results, etc.), contact the corresponding author listed in the test record. In addition to any names in the Author field, you can check the Author Identifier field for any ORCID author links; and the Affiliation, Email, and Correspondence Address fields will contain information about the corresponding author.

Tracking down the author may require extra effort if the email address at the time of publication is no longer valid.  In that case, try following the author’s research trail for clues about current affiliation or contact information from more recent publications.

For any questions about whether your intended use of the test is permissible — including possible changes to test format — you’ll need to contact the test publisher. This is true even if the Permissions field indicates “May use for Research/Teaching”.

Examples of when you’d need to request permissions from the test publisher include  

  • Modifying a test;
  • Using a test for any purpose not stated in the APA PsycTests record;
  • Republishing a test, including reproducing it online; and
  • Using a test for research within a commercial/for-profit context.

How do I find out who published a test?

Information about who published a test is presented in different ways, depending on whether the test record describes a non-commercial research instrument or a commercial one.

Non-commercial measures, which were used in research published in a journal article or other scholarly resource, are often freely available for use within a research or educational context. In contrast, commercial tests can be obtained for a fee and are usually available only to qualified professionals.

You can quickly identify whether you’re looking at a non-commercial or commercial/fee-based test by looking at the test record’s Commercial field.

The Commercial field follows the Test Year field in the APA PsycTests record.

The Commercial field follows the Test Year field in the APA PsycTests record.

Most tests indexed in APA PsycTests are non-commercial, and the publisher of a non-commercial test is typically the publisher of the journal in which the test appeared.

To identify the publisher of a non-commercial measure, go to the Source Used field in the test record and select the Source Reference link to view the research citation. If it includes a doi.org link, you can use it to quickly access the publisher’s web site. If not, make note of the journal or publication title and try searching online for its publisher.

The Source Used field for a non-commercial test contains the reference citation. The Source Reference for this example has a DOI link to the research article on the publisher’s web site.

The Source Used field for a non-commercial test contains the reference citation. The Source Reference for this example has a DOI link to the research article on the publisher’s web site.

A relatively small percentage of APA PsycTests records describe commercial measures that were referenced in the academic literature. For a commercial test available for purchase through a scholarly or specialty publisher, you’ll see the name in the Publisher field.

The Publisher field contains the publisher’s name for a commercially available test.

The Publisher field contains the publisher’s name for a commercially available test.

What’s the best way to contact APA for permissions questions?

If the test was published in an APA journal or other APA publication, contact APA Publishing’s Permissions team at permissions@apa.org for questions about acceptable use. If the test was published in a non-APA resource or is commercially available, you’ll need to visit the external publisher’s web site to find contact information.  

If you’ve reviewed the full test record but still aren’t sure who published it, send the complete test name to permissions@apa.org. APA Publishing’s Permissions team will review the test and let you know whether it was published by APA. Including the APA PsycTests Unique Identifier number displayed near the end of the test record will help us to identify the test in question and respond more quickly.

Will the full-text file for the test contain everything I need to use it?

Most test files in the database do not include everything you’ll need for administering and scoring the test and interpreting its results (e.g., instructor guide, answer sheet, etc.). Contact the corresponding author listed in the test record to request these additional types of information. A small percentage of test files do include some type(s) of Supporting Documentation, and you’ll see the corresponding link when this extra content is available.

Can I administer a test to patients or study participants?

Many tests in APA PsycTests can be used within an educational context or for non-commercial research. The statement “May use for Research/Teaching” in the Permissions field also allows for general use in a clinical setting.

To use a test you’ve found in APA PsycTests for commercial purposes — or to reproduce it for any use not explicitly covered in the Permissions information — you must first contact the test publisher.

How can I learn more about using APA PsycTests?

The following resources can help you learn to search APA PsycTests more efficiently:

Other questions?

For specific questions about searching or how to use the APA PsycTests database, contact your institutional librarian or email us at psycinfo@apa.org.

Patti Avellanet

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