What are measurement tools?
Measurement tools are instruments like surveys, questionnaires, or scales to help collect data from a population—whether patients, students, clients, or subjects. They help quantify variables that are not normally quantifiable with technology and equipment. For example, we can draw blood and run a lipid panel to measure cholesterol levels. However, concepts like anxiety or pain or satisfaction cannot be measured by any equipment or technology so we must rely on measurement tools.
Do note that many measurement tools are protected by copyright. If planning to use a tool for research or practice, you may need to get copyright permission or pay for a license. Talk to your librarian for further information.
Terms to know:
- Reliability: The extent to which a measurement is free from error. The result for a person who has not changed also doesn’t change when retested at different intervals, by different people, or in different situations.
- Validity: the degree to which an instrument is measuring the thing it claims to measure. For example, does a test for student engagement actually measure that, or is it measuring something else, like extroversion or intelligence?
Where to Find Measurement Tools
Many studies attach full-text of their testing instruments as an appendix to their final document. These can often be found through database searches. Below are links to databases the NDSU Libraries' subscribe to that frequently have tests and measurements in them. One other place to look in is Dissertations and Theses since the testing instrument is generally in the appendix.
Try searching for your topic AND your instrument
Example: test anxiety AND ("oral interview" OR questionnaire)
Measurement Instrument Database for the Social Sciences (open access)
Books and articles about measurement tools: