Skip to Main Content

DNP Evidence-Based Practice Project: Library Resources: Measurement Tools

This guide is designed to assist graduate students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with the research and scholarly writing components of the final DNP Project.

E-Book on Outcome Measurement

The UToledo Libraries provide access to the classic e-book Measurement in Nursing and Health Research. Access this text by following the link below. 

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Searching for Outcome Measurement Tools (or Research Instruments)

The following video tutorial provides step-by-step instructions to help you search for outcome measurement tools using library research databases, specifically CINAHL and PsycINFO:

To view specific segments of this video tutorial, follow the links below:

Outcome Measurement Tools: Further Search Guidance

In addition to the video tutorial above, this page provides further guidance on how to locate outcome measurement tools and psychometric studies about the validity/reliability of outcome measurement tools. Click the links below to jump to a specific section of this page:

Identifying an Outcome Measure

Library databases, such as CINAHL, MEDLINE, or PsycINFO, can be great starting points to search for outcome measurements (including research instruments, tools, surveys, scales, questionnaires, etc.) to evaluate the outcome of your DNP EBP project. 

Below are a few tips and tricks that you can use to begin your search for an outcome measurement.

Search by Outcome

When starting an EBP project, the majority of practitioners will not automatically know what validated instrument to use to assess/evaluate outcomes. Therefore, it is necessary to search for one that can be used.  To identify outcome measures, you can search for articles (including research studies) that use existing tools or instruments. 

For example, let's consider the following PICO(T) question:  In adult hospice patients (P), what is the effect of a bibliotherapy reading program (I), compared with standard care alone (C), on quality of life (O) at the end-of-life (T)? 

For this question, since quality of life is the Outcome (O) that you need to evaluate, you will need to search for an outcome measurement tool (i.e. survey, scale, questionnaire, etc.) that is used to measure, evaluate, or assess quality of life. 

In CINAHL (and other library databases) you can combine your search terms for your outcome (i.e. quality of life) with specific search terms for measurement tools, such as:

checklist* OR instrument* OR inventor* OR measure* OR pretest* OR posttest* OR questionnaire* OR scale* OR survey* OR tool

(Note: The asterisk * after the root of each word is a database search technique called truncation. This will search for variations in that word's ending - i.e. instrument* will find instrument, instruments, or instrumentation)

Below is a screenshot of a search strategy in CINAHL (in Advanced Search mode) for finding outcome measurements used in articles about quality of life:

In the search example above, search terms for outcome measurement type were specifically searched in the AB Abstract field by selecting it from the drop-down menu. This is optional, but can sometimes be helpful for finding highly relevant articles on outcome measurements. 

Pro Tip! Use the "Research Instrument" Limit in CINAHL

In addition to the search steps described above, there is another method (in the CINAHL database specifically) to narrow your results to articles about outcome measures/research instruments.

Follow these steps in CINAHL:

  1. Enter keywords describing your topic or outcome (i.e. quality of life, depression, anxiety, burnout, etc.) in the search box, then click Search
  2. On the left side of the search results page, click the Show More link under Publication Date
  3. From the menu that opens up on your screen, navigate to the Publication Type menu and select Research Instrument, then scroll down and click the yellow Search button (see screenshot below)

Finding Psychometric Studies on Outcome Measurement Tools

Psychometric studies are research articles that evaluate a specific outcome measurement tool's validity and reliability

You can find these types of studies by conducting a search in a library database, including CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and others

When conducting your database search, enter the specific name of the known outcome measurement tool in the search box, and combine it with the search terms: psychometric OR validity OR reliability.

Below is a screenshot of a search strategy in CINAHL (in Advanced Search mode) for finding psychometric studies on the Beck Depression Inventory:

In the search example above, search terms were specifically searched in the TI Title field by selecting it from the drop-down menu. This is optional, but is strongly recommended for narrowing your search to psychometric studies on specific outcome measurement tools/instruments.