Test Instruments: Finding Instruments in CINAHL

Sources used to locate, evaluate and purchase tests.
Tests must be purchased from the publisher or author if not freely available. Permission must always be obtained from the copyright holder.

FInding Research Instruments in CINAHL

CINAHL advanced search box

Check the box beside Suggest Subject Terms.

Type research instruments into the search box and click Search.

Click on the linked heading, Research Instruments, to go to the Tree View for this term.


A Tree View is a hierarchical display of broader and narrower terms related to a heading.

From the Tree View, click on the topic of interest to you. Under +Research Instruments, there are narrower headings, such as +Instrument by Name or +Instrument by Type. A “+” in front of a CINAHL Heading indicates there are additional, narrower headings.

Check the box next to the desired heading. Note: If there are narrower terms under the heading you have chosen, and you want to include those in your search, make sure the box in the Explode (+) column is checked.


Click the Search Database button on the upper right side of the page.


Not sure which CINAHL Heading to use?

To find articles about instruments, try one of these headings:

  •      Instrument By Name or Instrument By Type

To find articles about how to develop or validate instruments, try one of these headings:

  •      Instrument Construction, Instrument Scaling or Instrument Validation

Other searching options

For many articles, CINAHL includes an Instrumentation (IN) field, which gives the names of the instruments used in the studies.

To search for instruments, enter terms into one of the search boxes on the main search screen. Change the drop-down to IN Instrumentation. You can search for a specific instrument (e.g., Beck Depression Inventory) or instruments that contain a certain term (e.g., depression).


From the Search Options (or Limits) page in CINAHL, it is possible to limit by Publication Type. This represents the type of publication being indexed, not the topic covered.

To access Search Options (or Limits), click on Show More, which can be found in the blue bar to the left of your search results.


You may want to try limiting your search results to one of these Publication Types:

Questionnaire/Scale: Indicates there is an actual questionnaire or scale in the referenced item.

Research: Indicates the referenced item is a research study.

Research Instrument: Indicates the item is a summary description of a specific research instrument.