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Published: July 4, 2011

Interest inventories

Questionnaires that attempt to determine the extent of an individual’s interest in a particular course of study, vocation or avocation. Used to help students decide on college majors, professional schools and career choices, interest inventories were first developed in the early 1900s and are based on research from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh. That research found that people in almost any given sphere of activity have common interests, disinterests and dislikes. Interest inventories ask test-takers whether they “like,” “dislike” or are “indifferent” to various activities, types of people, school subjects and so on.