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Copyright & Fair Use

Resources about copyright and fair use.

Responsible Use of Tests

Nearly all tests, measurements, and questionnaires are copyrighted, including those which you can find freely available.

Important for writers of dissertations and theses You are seeking permission to not only (perhaps) copy and include in your work but most importantly, to administer or ask the questions.

About Tests and Measures

Tests generally fall into two categories: Published and Unpublished.

Published (Commercial) Tests
Published tests are those tests available for purchase from a publisher.


  • Usually report the issues of validity and reliability and how they were established.
  • Usually have population norms and standardized scores
  • Publishers maintain the copies of tests, test manuals, and scoring keys.
  • Since publishers control the copyright to tests they distribute, permissions should be made clear with the purchase.


  • May be expensive--in some cases very expensive
  • May take some time to get from the publisher
  • May require that the administrator must be a licensed professional or meet certain criteria.

Unpublished Tests
Unpublished tests, paradoxically, refer to tests that are not available for sale via publishers. That is, unpublished in this context refers to tests which were probably published, just not for sale. Unpublished tests and measures are published in journal articles, books, dissertations - in a variety of places.


  • Usually are free or inexpensive


  • May be difficult to locate
  • May be issues with validity and reliability
  • May be issues with scoring
  • Need to obtain permission from the author and/or journal