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Finding Tests and Measures

Resources and tips for finding tests or measurements in behavioral sciences, business and education.

How to Obtain Permissions to Use a Test

Tests or measures are, for the most part, copyrighted and cannot be used or copied without permission, unless it's in the public domain, or it's explicitly stated that use is allowed without permission.

In general, the permissions process involves the following steps:

  1. Is usage information available?

The PsycTESTS database is a good resource for finding information regarding permissions in the Abstract/Details under "Permissons" : 

(Click here to view in PsycTESTS)

Other instruments are licensed and the license accompanying the instrument will indicate the manner in which the instrument may be used.

Sometimes you will find instructions regarding permissions within the test itself, or on the webpage if the measure is linked on a website.

Some instruments do not clearly state usage permissions. If no information about usage is available, then the next step is to identify the copyright holder. This could be an individual, a company, an organization, or the U.S. government. Locating the copyright holder can sometimes be difficult, or takes time.

  1. Who is the copyright holder? 
  • If you located the instrument in a database such as PsycTESTS, check the permissions section for each instrument.  Some options include:
    • Contact Publisher
    • May use for Research/Teaching
    • Contact Publisher and Corresponding Author.
  • If you located the instrument on a company website, contact the company. Often the publisher of commercially published tests will include information on the permissions process for the use of tests/ assessments on their website, along with any potential discounts they may extend to student researchers to purchase items. 
  • In each case, you will need to locate the person/entity holding the copyright in order to ask for the permissions you need.
  1. What rights do you need for your project?

Identify the rights that you will be asking for from the copyright holder.

  • Do you want to duplicate and distribute the survey?
  • Do you want to add additional questions to a survey or change some of the questions (e.g., create a derivative work)?
  • Do you want to publish the survey in your dissertation?

Be specific about what you will be doing with the copyright holder's work. The answers to these questions will determine the rights for which you will want to obtain permission. 

  1. How do you contact the copyright holder?

Email the company, individual, or organization that owns the copyright for the instrument.  For commercially published tests, some publishers provide a website form to fill out to obtain permissions. Be specific in your request. In some cases, authors or publishers may either not respond to requests or refuse to grant permission to use their work. Therefore, it is important to select a few potential tests or measurements. The Chicago School librarians can certainly assist with searching for alternate test instruments.

  1. How do you document received permissions?

Ask for permissions in writing; save copies of the emails and granted permissions.