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A guide for advanced research projects and supervised studies for psychology and neuroscience students.


The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association lists the following guidelines for referencing psychological tests and measures (see pp. 28-30 of the electronic references style guide for more examples):


Software (including apps) or program with individual or corporate authors

Rightsholder, A. A. (year). Title of Software or Program (Version number) [Description of form]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx


Friedlander, M. L., Escudero, V., & Heatherington, L. (2002). E-SOFTA: System for observing family therapy alliances [Software and training videos]. Unpublished instrument. Retrieved from


Test or inventory from the web

Author, A. A. (year). Title of Test or Inventory [Measurement instrument]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx


Nosek, B., Banaki., M., & Greenwald, T. (n.d.). Gender-Science IAT [Measurement instrument]. Retrieved from


Test database record (e.g. retrieved from PsycTESTS database)

Author, A. A. (year). Name of Test or Inventory [Database record]. Retrieved from Database Name.


Yu, C. K.-C. (2008). Dream Intensity Inventory [Database record]. Retrieved from PsycTESTS.

In-Text Citations

When citing tests or measures in the body of your paper, write names exactly as they appear in your references and make sure to capitalize test names. Words such as survey, instrument, quiz, etc. should only be capitalized if they are part of test names.


“In this study, we used Purring’s (2012) Charisma and Tenacity Survey (CATS) rather than Barks and Howls’s (2013) Directions of Generosity survey.”

McAdoo, T. (2014, February 20). How to cite a psychological test in APA style. Retrieved from

General Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when referencing psychological software, tests, and measures:


  • Don't italicize titles of software, apps, programs, or languages
  • Do italicize the title of published measurement instruments
  • If a DOI is included in the database record, add it to the reference; note that DOI in this case only refers to the database record, not the measurement instrument
  • The database record may or may not include a link to the actual test/measurement instrument
  • Database names are provided because the content is proprietary (i.e. only available in the PsycTESTS database)


In-Text Citations

  • Abbreviations don't need to be included when tests are mentioned once; however, frequent mentions (3+ times) should include the full title in the first citation and abbreviations for subsequent citations
  • Test names aren't italicized in in-text citations
  • Author-date doesn't need to be include every time a test is referenced in the body of your paper, unless you're directly quoting or paraphrasing the test