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HAPI - Searching tips: Descriptions

What do the terms in Hapi mean?

Definitions of Source Codes

  • A Primary Source instrument is one that has been developed by the author(s) of the journal article listed in the Source field.
  • A Secondary Source instrument is usually one that was developed by author(s) other than the author(s) of the Source article. In some cases, the author(s) of the Source article developed the instrument, but reported its development in an earlier publication.
  • A Translated Source instrument is an existing instrument (Secondary or Primary) that has been translated from its original language (i.e., the language in which it was originally written) to another language (the language in which the instrument was administered in the Source article).
  • A Publisher's Catalog instrument is one that is taken from the catalog of a company that provides tests and assessment tools.
  • A Review Source instrument is one that is described or evaluated in the Source article, rather than administered to respondents. A Review Source instrument may also be a measure that is taken from a compendium or compilation describing instruments.

Types of Instruments

Types of Instruments Covered in HaPI


The HaPI database describes a variety of different kinds of measurement instruments, including:

  • A Checklist consists of a list of characteristics, behaviors, skills, symptoms, or conditions. Respondents are typically asked to indicate the presence or absence of each item in the checklist. A checklist may be completed by an observer (e.g., nurses recording patients’ compliance behavior, teachers observing children in a classroom setting), clinician, or participant who records each instance that a characteristic, behavior, or skill is exhibited.
  • A Coding Scheme or Coding System involves the “systematic arrangement of items in an organized fashion or the classification of items into identifiable categories” (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2007).  This type of instrument may focus on the degree or intensity of responses, including frequency of occurrence, and is often used as a method of systematically describing observed behavior, verbal exchanges, and open-ended responses.  One type of coding scheme is a content analysis, which is “any procedure in which verbal material – written, tape-recorded, or live – is reduced to numerical data on the basis of a set of rules…” (Stang & Wrightsman, 1981, p. 19).
  • An Index is a composite (often a ratio) of values or scores that describes a condition or variable that usually cannot be observed directly. An index measure is “any composite measure created by a researcher that combines the values of two or more measured variables or items. Indexes are created to represent an underlying variable more precisely than any single item or measure included in the index would” (Stang & Wrightsman, 1981, p. 46).
  • An Interview Schedule is an instrument in which an interviewer asks selected questions and then records respondents’ answers in a face-to-face situation or over the telephone. Some interviews are designed simply to measure answers to specific questions; others may involve recording information about participants’ nonverbal behavior during the interaction. A structured interview consists of “a predetermined set of questions or topics” (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2007, p. 901).  An unstructured interview “imposes minimal structure by asking open-ended (rather than set) questions and allowing the interviewee to steer the discussion into areas of his or her choosing” (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2007, p. 970).  In unstructured or semi-structured interviews, the interviewer has flexibility to pose additional questions in order to probe for further details or pursue specific themes. 

  • A Projective Technique is a standardized method to elicit responses to vague, ambiguous stimuli. These stimuli may consist of pictures, ink blots, phrases, incomplete sentences or stories that allow respondents to reply as they wish. This technique is called “projective” because, when asked to describe the ambiguous stimuli, the respondent is believed to “project” his or her feelings, thoughts, or personality onto the stimuli.
  • A Questionnaire is “a list of questions asked to obtain information about a topic of interest, such as an individual’s lifestyle, attitudes, and other behaviors or characteristics” (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2007, p. 764).
  • A Rating Scale is “any scale in which a rater, or respondent, can express an opinion, judgment, or evaluation, usually by placing a mark along a line that is divided into 5 or 7 segments.  Likert scales, Likert-type scales, the semantic differential, and graphic rating scales are examples of rating scales” (Stang & Wrightsman, 1981, p. 74).  A rating scale is “an instrument used to assign scores to persons or objects on some numerical dimension” (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2007, p. 769).  Rating scales may be nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio.
  • A Survey is “a method of gaining certain information by asking specific people specific questions” (Corsini, 1999, p. 966).
  • A Test is “a standardized set of questions or other items designed to assess knowledge, skills, interests, or other characteristics of an examinee” (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2007, p. 931). Common tests include intelligence tests, aptitude tests, cognitive tests, screening tests, and neuropsychological tests.

  • A Vignette/Scenario is designed to assess people’s reactions to either hypothetical or actual situations.  After reading a particular vignette (e.g., a story or description of an interaction between individuals), respondents may be asked questions about the vignette, for example, their attitudes toward the story characters, solutions to conflicts or problems depicted in the vignette, or estimates of how they themselves would behave in a similar situation.