EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

News, Clinical Research, Educational Sites: Research Tests, Surveys or Measurements… some free, some by subscription

A frequent question at the reference desk is from nurses, physicians, epidemiologists, medical, dental or MPH students who are seeking assistance in finding clinical research instruments.  It can be a challenging and time-consuming task to find psychological profiles; while many are available at no-cost, a greater number are proprietary, copyrighted tests requiring payment to gain access to. Following are some useful commercial (i.e., paid subscription) sources as well as several free websites which may assist a user in locating the research instrument they need.

Originally this post was going to be about only an intriguing site I found recently from a research institute in Lyons, France named ProQolid: Patient Reported Outcome and Quality of Life Instruments Database (but then it got quite a lot longer).  Following is a screenshot of their front page:.

proqolid1

Source Credit: ProQolid – All Rights Reserved – Copyright 2009

Here is an excerpt from their About page:

” The success of Quality of Life (QOL) and Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) studies depends a great deal on the choice of appropriate instruments which must be selected according to the domains they measure and the populations and pathologies for which they are designed.  Practical issues, such as the availability of different translations, copyrights, and access to instruments are also major criteria in the choice of instruments.  From these observations, the Quality of Life Instruments Database (QOLID) project was initiated by Mapi Research Institute to provide all those involved in health care evaluation with a comprehensive and unique source of information on PRO and QOL measures available through the Internet….  QOLID was launched at the beginning of 2002. It is currently managed by Mapi Research Trust and was renamed ProQolid, short for “Patient-Reported Outcome and Quality of life Instruments Database” in January 2005. “

Please note that there are two levels of access to ProQolid (free or paid subscriber).  Here is an explanation of how the database is constructed: “For each instrument in the database, you’ll find 14 categories of basic information (e.g., author, objective, mode of administration, original language, existing translations, pathology, number of items, etc.)“.

Here’s a link to search ProQolid.

Following is a screenshot of a recent search done in the section for “Pathology – Nutritional & Metabolic Diseases: Diabetes Mellitus“:

proqoliddiabetes

Photo credits for ProQolid: Mapi Research Trust (MRT) – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

.Note: I thank Mary Ryan, biomedical librarian/informationist at the National Institutes of Health Library, for writing a post about ProQolid (which is how I found the site).

________________________________________

Next, some other suggestions for sources of psychological or diagnostic tests or measurements.

A first-stop database to search would be the comprehensive subscription database, PsycInfo which has 2.9 million bibliographic records (from the 1880’s to 2009).  PsycInfo has its own thesaurus.  Access to PsycInfo for any Connecticut resident (including educational institutions) is provided by the Connecticut State Library through iConn.org, a group of databases that since 2002, has  “offered every citizen in Connecticut free access to information and library resources, including 25 million articles from magazines, journals and newspapers, such as The New York Times, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and a statewide library catalog“.  (So unless you are a resident of Connecticut, access to iconn.org will be closed to you).

Another subscription database, HaPI (Health and Psychosocial Instruments), is described as “measurement instruments for any medical or medically related condition or treatment outcome that clinicians must ask a patient about“. HaPI indexes 145,000 bibliographic records and the range of coverages is years 1985 through 2009.  (UCHC library subscribes to HaPI via the OVID platform.)

Nursing faculty – or nurses enrolled in a MSN degree program – often ask reference librarians for assistance in navigating the CINAHL database (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature).  MSN students are required to conduct an actual research project for credit in their graduate programs and are frequently looking for surveys or tests.  There is a Research Instrument limit field in CINAHL, which “indicates material indexed as a research instrument… To indicate the use of instruments in a body of work, search electronically using the particular name. For material about research instruments, see CINAHL subject heading: RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS or specifics“. CINAHL has its own thesaurus and is available only by subscription.

But if your library doesn’t subscribe to these sources, what advice would a librarian offer for finding what else is “out there” on the Web?  Here are list of sites which may assist you.

  • The Buros Institute is the publisher of the venerable reference work, Mental Measurements Yearbook and Tests in Print (now in the 7th edition), which the institute describes as “a comprehensive bibliography to all known commercially available tests that are currently in print in the English language. TIP provides vital information to users including test purpose, test publisher, in-print status, price, test acronym, intended test population, administration times, publication date(s), and test author(s). A score index permits users to identify what is being measured by each test. Tests in Print is directly linked to the critical, candid test reviews published in the Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY) series.”   These standard reference textbooks are not free. However, the Buros Institute offers an online Test Reviews where one can search for thousands of test reviews to locate more information about formats, test audience and cost.  The institute provides advice on how to evaluate the validity of a particular test.
  • A giant repository of educational materials covering research from the pre-K through graduate level is ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center). ERIC indexes “1.2 million bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials, with hundreds of new records added twice weekly“.  ERIC has its own thesaurus.
    ERIC is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, a division of the U.S. Department of Education. There is a publication-types limit field in ERIC for Tests/Questionnaires.  Note: Access to search the ERIC database is free, although links to the actual articles or tests may – or may not – be.
  • Educational Testing Service (ETS) has a large searchable Test Index page.  Note that ERIC descriptors are used in the subject fields.  As a proprietor of commercial tests, ETS requires payment to access many of the tests found on the site. **
  • Developed by the Institute for Algorithmic Medicine, the Medical Algorithm Project has an extensive list of tests available to search; full access to this site requires registration (which is free).  Here’s an excerpt from their About page: “A Medical Algorithm is any computation, formula, survey, or look-up table, useful in health care. More than 10141 algorithms, organized into 45 chapters, are available as spreadsheets which can be opened in your browser“.  Here is another link for searching at that site.
  • A shout out to Helen Hough, health science librarian from University of Texas Arlingon Health Sciences Library, who has written a page called “Tests & Measures in the Social Sciences“.  It is a real gem of assorted links.  Thanks!
  • Another, similar resource is from San Diego State University, called SDSU Test Finder.
  • Link here to a search on OpenWorldCat.org for “psychological tests or measurements“.  I hesitated to include this resource on the list due to the amount of explanation (and page-space) it takes to simply describe the “What If-Then That” scenario required before a user can even begin to search it to locate any meaningful results. What is WorldCat and OCLC?  Here’s a description of requirements for individual libraries, thanks to the BCReview Blog (Nov 5 2007).  So unless you have a connection to a local public, academic or school library which is part of the OCLC consortium (or you live outside of the U.S.), this website may not  help you much at all.

________________________________________

A challenging teaching load this semester is keeping me from posting more often this month – next month will be better!

________________________________________

** Correction on my ETS entry:  A representative from the Educational Testing Service sent me an email today, and she explains more fully the type of access to the documents in the ETS archive.

Here is her description of access (i.e., is it free or for a fee?) to the ETS collections: “… we do have the Test Collection at ETS which contains a listing for over 25,000 measurement instruments by authors outside ETS. Of course, only a small subset is distributed by ETS by author’s written permission and… there is a small distribution fee for those tests. In the availability field of the test records, it lists the contact person, company, journal, etc. where the student/researcher can locate a copy of the instrument.

I strive for accuracy – but don’t always achieve it  8) ..Thanks for the correction.



Advertisements

2 responses to “News, Clinical Research, Educational Sites: Research Tests, Surveys or Measurements… some free, some by subscription

  1. Linda Savadge February 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

    You write, ” Educational Testing Service (ETS) has a large searchable index page for tests (but as a proprietor of commercial tests, ETS requires payment to access them). ” However, we do have the Test Collection at ETS which contains a listing for over 25,000 measurement instruments by author’s outside ETS. Of course, only a small subset is distributed by ETS by author’s written permission and yes, there is a small distribution fee for those tests. However, in the availability field of the test records, it lists the contact person, company, journal, etc. where the student/researcher can locate a copy of the instrument.

  2. Pingback: Medicine 2.0 Blog Carnival Edition #37 | Health Blogs Observatory

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: