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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Forensic psychology

A guide to finding forensic psychology information, by Ellen Sexton.

using PsycINFO to find tests

You can use
PsycINFO to identify tests discussed in journal articles.  Some articles give sufficient information about (unpublished) tests and scales so you can recreate them yourself.  Othertimes, you may have to contact the article author for more information. 

1.  Find the indexes on the blue bar at the top of the PsycINFO screen:

2. Type in a word describing your concept:

3. Check the box beside the index term that interests you, and click the "add" button. This builds the search query.

  4.  Then click the green "search" button.

The results list will be articles that used that "dangerousness scale" test.  One or more of them may desribe the scale in sufficient detail for you to recreate it. 

Unpublished versus published tests

Psychological tests are widely used tools in applied psychology. They may be either published, that is, for sale from a commercial distributor, or they may be unpublished tests available in complete form only from their developer or creator. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 is a well-known published test about which much has been written in textbooks, monographs and journal articles. It is published by the University of Minnesota Press. Its use is restricted to trained professionals. In contrast, a little-used unpublished test might only be described in the journal article where its use was first reported. An unpublished test might be used and revised over a period of years before being made available commercially as a published test. Standardized tests are those for which strict procedures have been developed which are followed when the test is administered. They are usually administered to a control group as well as to the candidates of interest.

We do not keep a collection of tests in the library. Tests are normally copyrighted, and cannot be used without the permission of the copyright owner. In effect this means that you buy as many copies as you are planning to use from the publisher. A publisher may be willing to provide a specimen test on request. If you want to use an unpublished test, you must ask for permission to use it from the creator of the test.


Click here for help on identifying psychological tests


Frequently Asked Questions on psychological tests. 
The American Psychological Association has posted information here about psychological tests, including how to find and use them.