In your projects, you may be asked to find a tool to help you carry out your research. Finding a verified tool is challenging. Often, tools are owned by the authors who created them for use in a study and are not provided in the articles reporting on the study. You will need to contact the authors to request a copy of the tool and permission to use it in your work. The author/owners may request payment. If the author/owners do provide permission, be sure to keep that documentation. This guide offers suggestions on how to find information that can lead you to tools.
1. Search in the literature to find researchers who have developed a tool on your topic. Sometimes, the tool will be included in appendices of an article.
2. Use the references of articles that mention the tool to trace back to the original document that describes the tool.
3. Add terms such as tools, questionnaires, or surveys to your search in the databases. See example below:
"smoking cessation" AND tools
4. Look to see if the database you are using has a filter for publication type, and select items such as surveys, questionnaires, etc., like in the example below from CINAHL.
The Health and Psychological Instruments (HaPI) database allows you to search your topic, and the database will pull up names of different measurement tools. However, you won't get the actual tool. Instead, you are directed to articles that use or describe the tool. You can then work on finding access to the tool.
If you know the name of the tool you want to use, you can search it using your preferred search engine to see if it available via a website. These tools may be free or at a cost.
Tip! Even if you find a free tool or a tool is provided in an article, you may need to get permission to use it. Read websites carefully for permissions needed. With the scholarly literature, be sure to contact the author(s) for a copy of the tool and permission to use. Make sure to keep a record of these interactions.
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