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Public Health Resources

Countway Library is dedicated to supporting the research interests of our students and investigators in the varied fields of Public Health.

Research Instruments

What are measurement tools in Public Health:

Measurement tools are instruments used by investigators to measure or collect data on a variety of variables. Types of measurement tools include scales, indexes, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, and informal observations.

How do I find them?

Finding measurement tools that are validated and reviewed can be a time-consuming process. If you know the name of the tool you are looking for then you might search the literature to find reviews and validation. If you are looking by subject matter, you can use simple literature searches in PubMed and CINAHL to try and identify scales and measurements that have previously been used. 

A search example using Medical Subject Headings and search terms plus a topic:

((inventor*[ti] OR survey*[ti] OR interview*[ti] OR questionnaire*[ti] OR test*[ti] OR measure*[ti] OR scale*[ti] OR batter*[ti] OR checklist*[ti] OR instrument*[ti] OR pretest*[ti] OR post-test*[ti]) AND ("Surveys and Questionnaires"[Mesh] OR "Health Care Surveys"[Mesh] OR "Nutrition Surveys"[Mesh] OR "Health Surveys"[Mesh] OR "Diet Surveys"[Mesh] OR "Dental Health Surveys"[Mesh] OR "Contraceptive Prevalence Surveys"[Mesh] OR "Demography"[Mesh] OR "Cross-Sectional Studies"[Mesh] OR "Longitudinal Studies"[Mesh] OR "Health Status Indicators"[Mesh] OR "Data Collection"[Mesh] OR "Psychological Tests"[Mesh] OR "Personality Tests"[Mesh] OR "Personality Assessment"[Mesh] OR "Psychological Techniques"[Mesh] OR "Psychometrics"[Mesh])) AND family[ti]

Switch out topic (in red) as appropriate.

If you are just beginning your search;

  1. Consider looking for scales and measurements keywords in your Harvard Dataverse Community 
  2. Canvas the literature by doing a search in PubMed or CINAHL or look in the resources below
  3. ETS Test Link
  4. Mental measurements yearbook with Tests in Print
  5. Directory of Unpublished Experimental Mental Measures
  6. Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HAPI)


Finding, accessing a full tool and gaining permission may be like a lengthy process. Plan for this ahead of time. It may seem like an efficient option to create your own measurement tool but unique tools take a lok time to validate, there may be the exact tool already in use, and unique tools are often unable to be aggregated with other datasets and analyzed. 

For additional options locating research instruments, contact your Public Health Liaison Librarian at Countway Library.

Students at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health can access NVivo through their student VDI Software Inventory page.

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