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Q: What is the difference between the Occupation Search Inventory – Form 2 and Form 3?

Both the OSI-2 and the OSI-3 assess the same eight interest domains and so the Occupations Listings materials can be used with either inventory. The principal difference between the two inventories is that they seek to assess different populations. The OSI-2 was designed to be more appropriate to younger people with very limited work experience and those not likely to be able to work in occupations requiring significant academic training. It is designed and constructed to be more suitable for those who are more likely to be able to do jobs requiring either no formal training or up to trade level courses.

The OSI-3 is designed and constructed to be suitable for individuals likely to aspire to certificate level training up to tertiary level courses. It places less emphasis on skills and abilities compared to the OSI-2 and has more dimensions focusing on work-relevant preferences.


Similarities:  Both

  • Are inventory based and require written answers to questions in the form of circling Yes or No
  • Are available online from Survstar (see website for details)
  • Assess multiple interest and ability domains
  • Assess the same eight vocational interest domains
  • Generate vocational interest codes as a basis for career exploration
  • Are able to utilise the same Occupations Listings


Target population
  • Limited literacy
  • Limited ability
  • Lower vocational/training aspirations
  • Higher formal education
  • Higher academic potential
  • A broader range of vocational options
Literacy demands
  • Shorter items
  • Lower reading level
  • Fewer domains – less reading required
  • More detailed items
  • At least average literacy level
  • Covering more interest domains
Interest Domains
  • Work Activities
  • Work Skills
  • Occupations
  • Personal Abilities
  • Work Activities
  • Work Environments
  • Leisure Activities
  • Occupations
  • Work Skills
Ability domain emphasis
  • Greater emphasis on abilities as determiners of choice
  • Greater emphasis on preferences as determiners of choice
Occupations included
  • Occupations not requiring formal qualifications
  • Up to certificate entry occupations
  • Occupations requiring certificate qualifications
  • Occupations requiring higher than certificate qualifications
Occupations listed
  • Focus on lesser formal skilled
  • Focus on practical and manual skilled occupations
  • Focus on occupations requiring theoretical and technical knowledge

Q: If the majority of the people I see come from limited educational backgrounds, have difficulties reading in English and are not likely to aspire to other than lower skilled jobs, what is the best interest measure to use with them?

A: The Occupational Search Inventory – Form 2 was specifically constructed to cater for such individuals with simplified items, shortened length of the test and a focus on trade-level occupations and below in both the questionnaire itself and the Occupations Listing.

Our experience is that the OSI-2 can be used with those from non English speaking backgrounds through interpreters with satisfactory results (if you have a competent interpreter!!).

If you want more immediate control and supervision opportunities than the Congruence Interest Sort may be preferable since it allows greater flexibility and opportunities to change the nature and difficulty of the assessment task and to intervene in the testing process.

Q: What is the difference between the Congruence Personality Scale - Form 1 and the Congruence Personality Scale - Form 2?

A: In the history of personality assessment over the last 75 years or so two principal traditions have emerged usually designated the lexical and the questionnaire perspectives.

The lexical perspective seeks to understand personality by working on the assumption that language reflects observation of reality and therefore it can be understood as a reflection of reality. Thus if there are names for traits that is because people have found such words useful in accounting for an individual difference in personality. The CPS-1 is an assessment of the famous Big Five personality dimensions using adjectives derived from descriptions of these dimensions as revealed in the current personality research and theory literature. The items are adjectives or short descriptive phrases that the respondents indicate the frequency with which each word or phrase applies to themselves.

The questionnaire perspective seeks to assess personality through the interaction of situation and behaviour. Various behaviours in general or in a specific context are viewed as reflecting personality traits and can therefore be considered as indications of the intensity and influence of such traits on the individual’s personality. As a result the CPS-2 is a behaviour – oriented set of items assessing the same Big Five personality dimensions as for the CPS-1. Test takers have to indicate how often the statement describes them.

In deciding between the CPS-1 and the CPS-2 the above differences in test demand characteristics need to be taken into account. In addition experience shows that the CPS-1 requires at average levels of literacy and preferably higher than average since some test takers do not understand of some of the adjectives such as “analytical” or “philosophical”. The authors believe that the CPS-2 is usually better for school students unless they are high ability pupils. There is not a great deal of difference in the testing time for both forms however, the CPS-1 usually takes longer to score.

Q: What is the difference between the Occupations Listings for the OSI-2 and OSI-3?

A: The OSI-2 has two different Occupations Listings, one comprehensive version and one condensed version whereas the OSI-3 has two identical comprehensive versions. One version goes to the test taker and one is kept by the practitioner. As the OSI-2 has good applications for individuals with limited literacy, or who are likely to consider occupations not requiring much education, the practitioner gives the condensed Occupations Listing to these individuals as it is a more appropriate listing for the individuals identified interests. The OSI-3 has good applications for individuals across a wider range of abilities, who are interested in occupations requiring more skilled labour, so the comprehensive version is an appropriate listing for their abilities.

Q: Why use the Congruence Interest Sort (CIS) in preference to one of the OSI forms since the both assess the same interest domains?

The advantage of the card sort format for interest assessment is flexibility. Card sorts allow changes in the number of items to be administered, the number of responses categories presented and the variety of ways in which selected cards can be used to further explore the idiosyncratic as well as the common dimensions of any individual’s preference domain. The CIS Manual lists a variety of additional ways to traditional quantitative assessment that the cards can be used and interpreted.

The use of the CIS for the integration of qualitative as well as quantitative assessment has been documented else including:

  • Pryor, R.G.L. (2007). Assessing complexity: Integrating being and becoming. Journal of Employment Counseling, 14, 126-134
  • Pryor, R.G.L. & Bright, J.E.H. (2015). Chaotic career assessment: Integrating quantitative and qualitative assessment. In M. McMahon & M. Watson (eds.), Career assessment approaches, (pp. 191-198)

Q: If I have a wide range of clients and I can only purchase one of the two OSI forms, which one would be the most useful?

Congruence would encourage professionals to develop a battery of assessment tools in order for the assessor to be able to tailor the assessment process to the specific characteristics of individuals. However, our experience is that if you can only use a single form of the Occupation Search Inventory, then the OSI-3 is the most generalizable across all population groupings.

Q: What qualifications are needed to be able to use Congruence materials?

Congruence materials are designed and constructed to be as user-friendly as possible. Although constructed to strict psychometric standards their use and interpretation have been purposely focused on career development as distinct from clinical issues. Therefore those whose educational background includes some training in assessment procedures is eligible for purchase and use of our materials. We do however, strongly recommend that new users purchase a specimen set in the first instance and to read the relevant Professional Manual carefully before using the assessment materials. Regrettably the history of psychological assessment is replete of abuses of testing and we would therefore warn customers not to assume knowledge about Congruence assessment tools without a thorough reading of the testing data and guidance material.

Q: What is the purpose of the Alphabetised Occupations Listing in comparison to the Coded Occupations Listing?

The reasons for having these two different Occupations Listings is that they present the same information in different ways to answer different questions. Thus the Coded Occupations Listing is used to answer questions such as given a particular interest code (derived from the OSI or CIS) what kinds of occupations have people in them with similar codes. The assumption is that those in certain occupations similar to a particular person’s code, then it is likely that that person will be interested in that set of occupations. Obviously, there are other factors that need to be considered in addition to interests but this process narrows down the range of occupations for the person to focus attention upon for decision making purposes.

The Alphabetised Occupations Listing answers a different question. It is used when the person having gained a particular interest code wants to know if that code is similar to some specific occupations in which the that person has some sort of desire to know about. Thus in this situation the person might be wanting to confirm that a specific occupation would be interesting given their interest code or how close the interest code is to other occupations that they are curious about.

Q: What Congruence inventories are available online?

If you go to you will see that the following inventories are available online.

  • Occupational Search Inventory – Form 2
  • Occupational Search Inventory – Form 3
  • Work Aspect Preference Scale
  • Congruence Personality Scale – Form 1
  • Congruence Personality Scale – Form 2