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Home > Publications > NIDA Notes > Vol. 19, No. 1 > Research News

Instrument Wizard Works Magic With Web-Based Drug Abuse Research Tools
Research News
Vol. 19, No. 1 (April 2004)


Shazam! A modern-day wizard stands ready to help anyone who needs information on instruments to measure substance abuse and related factors. The Instrument Wizard (IW), developed by ISA Associates, Inc., with NIDA funding, is a Web-based resource that helps users identify screening, diagnostic, and evaluation instruments for use in clinical settings and in every stage of drug abuse research--from planning to program evaluation.

The IW collects more than 200 instruments that have been empirically tested for reliability and validity, with particular attention to psychometrics, the measurement of psychological variables. IW users can search a wide array of elements, including target audience, specific substance of abuse, instrument's purpose, and other topics, such as risk factors. Those who want a specific tool can search by the instrument's title or author.

Wizard Hat

Potential IW users--drug abuse prevention and treatment professionals, behavioral health care providers, researchers, evaluators, educators, and criminal justice personnel--can take a "virtual tour" of the IW at The tour allows visitors to view a multimedia demonstration of the IW's functions and capabilities. Visitors can see how to search by title, author, or instrument characteristics and what the results of a search would look like. After a trial run, interested users can subscribe online for an individual or organizational membership by month or year; fees are based on membership type. Members incur no additional cost for instruments in the public domain. Some private instruments also are free; for all others, the IW provides cost information or contact information for costs.

Crystal Ball

"We want drug abuse professionals to think of and use the IW as a 'one-stop shopping' destination," says Dr. Royer Cook of ISA, the project's principal investigator. "The IW is unique in providing users access to high-quality research and clinical tools in a site where they can review properties of all instruments, print out the materials, and receive copyright information, if needed."

For More Information . . .

  • To learn more about the Instrument Wizard, e-mail Dr. Tracy McPherson, of ISA, at or call 703-739-0880.
  • For details on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants program, which funded development of the IW, visit NIDA's Web site at Funding or the Small Business Administration site at


Volume 19, Number 1 (April 2004)

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