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Tests & Measures: Reliability and Validity

Definitions

Validity 
  • How well does the instrument measure what it is supposed to measure?
  • How well does it perform as it was designed to perform?
Reliability
  • Does the instrument measure and perform reliably each time?

Challenges

Published

  • Reliability and validity for published/commercial tests can be found in Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print (MMY).
  • Published tests may be quite costly to purchase, or may have restrictions on who can administer the test.
  • While the reliability and validity are easy to locate some students may need to focus on unpublished tests, depending on needs.

Unpublished

  • Finding reliability and validity for unpublished tests can be challenging; sometimes there is no reliability or validity information available.
  • You may need to contact the author, or try searching the databases and the internet to locate what you need.
  • The library can try to assist with this if needed. 

Database tips

Some of the databases have specific ways that you can search for reliability and validity.

CINAHL Plus with Full Text

Enter the instrument name in the first search box and "Reliability and Validity” in quotes in the second. To the right of the second search box, change Select a Field (optional) to MW Word in Subject Heading by clicking on the drop-down menu.
 
 

ERIC

Enter the instrument name in the first search box. In the second search box enter "Interrater Reliability" OR "Test Reliability" OR "Test Validity" OR "Construct Validity" OR "Content Validity". Be sure to use quotes around the phrases. To the right of the second search box, change Select a Field (optional) to DE Descriptor [exact] by clicking on the drop-down menu.
 
 

HaPI

Enter the instrument name in the first search box. In the area under the search boxes, look for the Source Code box and select Review Source.
 
Screenshot
 

PsycINFO

Enter the instrument name in the first search box. To the right of the search box, change Select a Field (optional) to any of the following: TM Tests & Measures, AB Abstract, or KW Keywords by clicking on the drop-down menu. In the second search box enter: "Test Validity" OR "Test Reliability" and then change Select a Field (optional) to SU Subjects by clicking the drop-down menu.
 
Screenshot
 

PsycTESTS

Enter the instrument name in the first search box. IN the area under the search boxes, look for the Record Type box and select Test Review.
 
Screenshot
 

Other databases

In other databases you may need to use a variety of keywords in the search boxes to try to locate reliability and validity. You can enter the name of the assessment into the first search box, and then enter the following in the second search box:
 
reliability OR reproducib* OR inter rate OR interrater OR valid* OR test retest OR predictive OR psychometric* OR test reviews OR reproducibility
 
Using an asterisk (*) after a root word tells the database to find the root word and all possible endings for the word.
 
NOTE: Valid* will find all of the following: Instrument Validation, Validation Studies, Construct Validity, Concurrent Validity, Criterion-Related Validity, External Validity, Internal Validity, Predictive Validity, Qualitative Validity, Reliability and Validity, Validation Studies