Help: Using CART

How To View and Print Information about Instruments in CART

CART provides two ways to search for research instruments:

1. Click on "Browse" on the sidebar of the Home page or the top toolbar on every CART page. Select the variable(s) or attributes you are interested in and click on "Find Instruments." CART will generate a list of instruments that measure the variable(s) selected.

  • To clarify the terminology used in the "Browse" section, click on the "Definitions," button, which is located both in the top tool bar or at the top of the Browse page.

  • When you use the Browse button, you will be provided with a list of keyword search terms. These terms are the keywords used to code or classify the instruments in CART.

2. Use the "Search" box, which appears in the toolbar at the top of every CART page. Here you can enter an author's name, keywords, or parts of words. CART will search the database and list names of instruments that have that word in the title, description, or author fields of the CART database.

  • The results of your CART search will automatically prioritize a list of instruments to most closely match the precise keyword(s) that you entered. For example, if you enter "teacher efficacy," CART will first list any instruments that include both words in that exact order. It will then list partial matches, including any instruments in the database with the word "teacher" or "efficacy" in the title, author, and description fields.

  • When you use the Search box in the top toolbar, you may enter your own keywords. When you use this option for searching CART, remember to be creative in trying synonyms that match your interests. If you do not receive satisfactory results using the Search box, we recommend that you explore the keywords on the Browse page.

Viewing and Printing Your Search Results

After you have searched the database and CART has produced a list of instruments, you can:

1. Explore that list by clicking on the title of each instrument. When you click on a title, you will find a description of that instrument and other data such as the author, target population, and contact information for acquiring the instrument.

2. Save the list of instruments that you are most interested in by clicking on the "Save" checkbox on the far right and then clicking on the "Save Checked Items" button at the bottom of the list.

3. View the list of instruments that you saved by clicking on the "View Saved Instruments" button.

4. Print the list of instruments by using your web browser's printing function.

How to Think About Your Search in CART

CART is designed to help you search for instruments or tools to serve research or evaluation needs related to youth development programs. Here is a step-by-step approach for using CART:

Step 1. Define the domain you are interested in studying.

  • Do you want to know more about how effective the program design and implementation is? Or...
  • Do you want to study the context in which the program exists? Or...
  • Do you want to look at outcomes for youth and their communities?
Step 2. Narrow your focus within the domain area you want to study.
For example, if you are interested in the domain of:

  • Program Design and Implementation factors, do you want to focus on
    • program design factors (such as program characteristics or program quality) OR do you want to focus on
    • implementation factors (such as internal or external sources of support)

  • Contexts, do you want to focus on:
    • school contexts (such as organizational structure or quality of work life) OR do you want to focus on
    • family contexts (such as family involvement in school or family characteristics?)

  • Outcomes, do you want to focus on
    • student academic outcomes
      OR do you want to focus on
    • youth development outcomes related to self (such as self-concept or resilience) OR do you want to focus on
    • youth development outcomes in relating to others (such as social competence or group interaction/teamwork)
(The heuristic above is not a complete representation of all possible search terms in the CART database. There are a number of other options under each domain.)

Step 3. Begin your search. Click on a search mechanism and begin plugging in the domain, category, variables, and their constructs (constructs being the narrowest focus in the layers of refinement). This process will yield the instruments that have been gathered for your specific interests.

Here are a few things to think about as you begin to explore CART's research instruments:

  • A good research or evaluation design should measure existing contextual or mediating factors.

  • A good research design should also measure change over time in specific outcomes of interest directly related to youth development activities among different targets of the program (e.g., students, teachers, community members).

  • A good research design should also assess program design and implementation of the program or activity (to determine actual quality and exposure to the program).

  • If possible, it is also useful to implement a research design that attempts to:
    • improve the activity or program through feedback mechanisms;
    • involve student and adult participants in data collection and learning;
    • be useful for various stakeholders.

For further guidance on how to choose an instrument for your purposes, please refer to:

What TC/MMY Means in a CART Instrument:

TC Number

If your search turns up an instrument that has a number that begins with TCxxxx, this means that more information about that instrument may be located in the ERIC/AE Test Locator database. The Test Locator is a joint project of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, the Library and Reference Services Division of the Educational Testing Service, the Buros Institute of Mental Measurements at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, the Region III Comprehensive Center at GW University, and Pro-Ed test publishers.

The TC number is the instrument's number in the Test Collection (TC). For more information, please see the ERIC/AE Test Locator website at: On the home page of that website, you will find a search engine into which you may type the TC number of the instrument you located in CART.


If your search turns up an instrument that has the designation MMY in the section labeled TC/MMY, this means that more information about that instrument may be found in the Mental Measurements Yearbook or database, published by the Buros Institute. The Mental Measurements Yearbook includes descriptive information about tests and references to relevant literature, as well as professional test reviews. If "MMY" appears in this field, it means that this instrument was reviewed in the Mental Measurements Yearbook. For more information about ordering the Mental Measurements Yearbook, please see the Buros Institute website at Local and university libraries may offer access to the Mental Measurements Yearbook database. Many also carry a reference copy of the Mental Measurements Yearbook. Check your local library.
CART is continually being updated. If you have questions or comments about CART, please contact