An important distinction to make is the publication status of a test instrument.
Published: The instrument is published by a commercial test publisher. These tests must be purchased from the test publisher, so you will seldom, if ever, find the items from these instruments in the public domain. Additionally, only qualified persons are allowed to buy these tests.
Unpublished: The instrument has been developed more for research purposes and is not sold by a commercial test publisher. The test author might choose to include the full text of the instrument in a journal article or dissertation, or might give permission for the instrument to be reprinted in a book.
1. Where can I find information about a test, especially information about reliability and validity?
2. I heard you have test kits in Blommers Library? Who can use them?
Checkout of test kits is restricted due to the proprietary nature of tests and test publishers’ requirements. Blommers Library allows test checkout for only qualified College of Education graduate students who are working under the supervision of a faculty member, and College of Education faculty who are studying the field of measurement. Requests by other persons affiliated with the University of Iowa are decided on a case-by-case basis.
3. I found a full-text questionnaire in a journal article that will be perfect for my dissertation research. Do I need permission to use the questionnaire?
Yes, it is your professional and ethical responsibility to contact the test author and request permission to use their test. Most journal articles include contact information for authors and that is a good place to start. The Blommers librarian can assist you with other ideas for locating a test author.
4. Is there one big database where I can search for all tests?
No, because tests vary so much in format, subject, and publication status, there is no single place to search for all tests that have ever been created.