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EPID 7160 - Survey Methodology: Course Guide

Searching for epidemiologic surveys in the literature, and locating reliability and validity information.

Sources: Test and Measurements

Survey terms and search strategies

Basic keyword search strategy for any database: Topic AND (survey OR instrument) AND (reliability OR validity OR development) 

Try evaluation studies as an "article type" limit

Expand your vocabulary using MeSH headings:

Psychological tests
Process assessment (health care)
Outcome and process assessment (health care)
Aptitude tests
Language tests
Neuropsychological tests
Personality tests

HSRR (Health Services and Sciences Research Resources)

Information about research datasets and instruments/indices employed in Health Services Research, Behavioral and Social Sciences and Public Health with links to PubMed.

Surveys in PubMed@TU

Surveys referred to within the text: PubMed

Medical Subiect Headings (MESH: the thesaurus database)

Enter ‘survey’

What is the indexed term, ‘Surveys or Questionnaires'

    1. Read the definition of the term to make sure it is correct for what you want to find (an article about a survey).
    2. Select the subheading for Standards
    3. Add to Search Builder

Find the term,  ‘flu’

What is the indexed term?  (‘Human Influenza)

  • Add to Search Builder box

Search PubMed

Locate an article about a survey

  • Select ‘Display options’
    • Change the default ‘Summary’ to ‘Abstract’
    • Change the default “Most Recent’ to ‘Best Match’
  • Scan the abstracts for any expression which describes a survey
    • HINT: Scroll to the MESH terms section and open. Notice the MESH terms used, an indication of why the article was found out of @30M
  • Select article titles
  • Open the Green TULink to read the article

Surveys in PsycInfo

Surveys in CINAHL


EMBASE - filter by study type

Embase - filter by study type

Filter search results by Study type to view various data collection methods used, such as questionnaires. 

ERIC - survey publication types

ERIC Limit - PUblication Type - Tests/instruments

Limit to Tests & Questionnaires using the Publication Type search option in ERIC

Finding Surveys and Questionnaires

In some cases the actual questionnaire or survey is not published with the article, but referred to within the text.

In the bibliography, find the reference  to the survey or questionnaire itself, or to the original article where the instrument was published.

Search for the name of the instrument.

Some instruments are not free. They can be purchased from the developer.


Conduct an article search in a bibliographic database on the topic of interest and add in the keywords: survey* or questionnaire*

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