What is a Critical Literature Review
A literature review is an account of information published on a topic by scholars and researchers in scholarly journals and publications. The purpose of a literature review is to convey to your reader the knowledge and ideas, in strengths and weaknesses, established on a topic. As a piece of writing, the literature review is defined by a guiding concept–for example, your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis. It is not just a descriptive list of the material available or a set of summaries.
Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, in writing a literature review you gain and demonstrate skills in information seeking and critical appraisal. Information seeking is the ability to scan the literature efficiently, using manual or computerized methods, and to identify a set of useful articles and books. Critical appraisal is the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies.
A literature review must:
Be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing.
Synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known.
Identify areas of controversy in the literature.
Formulate questions that need further research.
Critical Literature Review Instructions
There are two goals for the course project.
The first goal is to gain in-depth knowledge of the practical use of an instrument related to your current or future occupation or area of specialization.
The second goal is to learn how to critically evaluate the use of any psychological assessment instrument.
The specific project objectives are presented below.
To successfully complete this project, you will be expected to:
Evaluate the different administration methods of an assessment instrument.
Evaluate the psychometric properties of an assessment instrument.
Apply standards and principles for assessment when using an assessment instrument.
Evaluate a psychological measure.
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To achieve a successful project experience and outcome, you are expected to meet the following requirements.
Specific Content Requirements
Submit a Critical Literature Review on a psychological instrument currently used in your present or future occupation or area of specialization. You may choose to further investigate one of the instruments you evaluated in Unit 3 or Unit 4. However, the reviews obtained from the Mental Measurements Yearbook cannot be used as primary sources or as article summaries. The reviews may be used for comparison purposes, and they may be included as additional references for your review.
Select and summarize 10-12 articles from scholarly or peer-reviewed journals and publications. You will find full text articles in the Capella Library’s many journal databases, such as PsycINFO, which has APA journals. The articles must be directly related to your chosen instrument and area of specialization.
Note: You may not use Web sites or books for this project.
As you prepare your final paper, be sure to incorporate the following points noted in Parts 1-3 in your document.
Part 1: Introduction (2-3 pages)
The introduction provides an overview of the material covered in your literature review.
At a minimum, it must contain the following:
State your thesis statement, problem statement, or research question.
Explain how the literature review pertains to your current or future occupation or area of specialization.
Discuss the relevant psychological theory or theories most relevant in terms of explaining the psychological underpinnings of the chosen instrument.
Discuss the type of instrument (such as intelligence, personality, neurological, psychoeducational, aptitude, ability, or achievement) that is the focus of your literature review.
Give the purpose of the instrument as indicated by the authors.
Discuss how the instrument is currently being used.
Part 2: Main Section or Body (10-12 pages)
The main section or body of the literature review will be comprised of two main sections, Article Summaries and an Evaluation of a Psychological Measure.
Section 1: Article Summaries (3-5 pages)
Give a brief summary to describe each article that discusses the following:
Purpose of the research as stated by the author or authors.
Methods used in the research that include the specific research methodology and statistical analyses used in the research.
Information pertaining to the demographic characteristics of the subjects such as age, gender, occupation, education, and other relevant information.
The setting in which the research was conducted such as educational, business, or clinical.
The summary of research results. Discuss the major findings of the research, and the author conclusions, suggestions for future research, and so on.
Section 2: Evaluation of a Psychological Measure (7-9 pages)
This section will consist of your evaluation of the literature you compiled. The evaluation of the psychological measure must synthesize the findings from your review of the literature with information and material presented in the course. Your evaluation must include a discussion of the major assumptions of testing, the relevant APA/NASP Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, and an evaluation of psychometric properties for the instrument you chose.
Address the following in your evaluation section:
Identify the different administration methods used for the measure in the research.
Evaluate those methods and recommend best practices for administration.
APA/NASP standards and ethical principles of testing.
Discuss the major APA/NASP standards most relevant to the articles you selected and why the standards are most relevant.
Discuss the degree to which the APA/NASP standards were adhered to in the research.
Discuss the ethical principles of testing most relevant to the articles you selected and why the principles are most relevant.
Discuss the degree to which the ethical principles of testing standards were adhered to in the research.
Psychometric properties reported in the literature.
Evaluate the psychometric properties of instruments as presented in the literature.
Discuss the similarities and differences of the psychometric properties across the various articles.
Identify articles that may have omitted this information from the published article. Discuss how the omission of such information may have affected the scholarly value of the article.
Discuss the psychometric properties of reliability, validity, normative sample, and errors of measurement. Give specific numbers for each property and interpret those numbers as being low, medium, or high in accordance with interpretation guidelines presented in the course.
Discuss the concept of bias in the assessment process.
Include a discussion of the types of bias present when using the selected instrument with a given population.
Describe steps taken to reduce the effects of test bias.
Discuss the degree to which the demographic characteristics of participants in the research reflect the demographic characteristics of the participants reported in the normative-standardization sample of the instrument.
Discuss which omitted articles omitted this information.
Discuss how the omission of such information affected the scholarly value of the article.
Discuss the degree to which the instrument is used across disciplines. If the articles only identified one setting, indicate the setting in which the instrument is primarily used.
Website icon Capella Library: Finding Test & Measurement Instruments.
Part 3: Conclusion (3-5 pages)
The conclusion must summarize your findings relative to the material presented in the course and include the following:
Write a brief summary that includes an overview of the major points of similarity among the articles, a summary of the major points of differences among the articles, and a discussion of how the literature supports or contradicts your thesis statement, problem statement, or research question.
Discuss whether the instrument is being used as it was intended to be used. Your discussion must be referenced to the text and research findings.
State your position on the overall validity and reliability of the instrument or instruments relative to the results of your research. Use information presented by Kaplan and Saccuzzo (2005) to discuss whether the reported indices for validity and reliability represent low, medium, or high values.
State your position regarding the usefulness of the instrument relative to the results of your research. Your opinion must be based specifically on your findings. Discuss specifically the findings of your research as it has shaped your opinion.
Discuss how this material has added to, clarified, or enhanced your understanding of the topics presented in the course. Discuss the specific chapters from the text and the specific course topics that your research has supplemented or clarified for you.
Address how this information has contributed to your current or future professional, personal, and academic knowledge base.
Include any additional comments you feel are necessary.
Length: The Critical Literature Review must be 15-20 pages in length, not including the cover page, abstract, table of contents, and references.
Format: Present your Critical Literature Review using APA format.
References: Include a minimum of 10-12 references, and apply appropriate references for the supporting research, citations, and literature review as follows:
The article entries of the Annotated Bibliography are your list of references for the paper. Do not submit the entire Annotated Bibliography as your list of references. Reformat the document so that it adheres to the requirements of the APA Manual (6th ed.) for references.
Reviews obtained from the Mental Measurements Yearbook cannot be used as article summaries. The reviews may be used for comparison purposes and included as additional references for your review.
Written Communication: Written communication successfully conveys the message and is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
Cover Page – List the following:
Title of your paper.
Your specialization or program.
Title and number of the course.
The current quarter and year at Capella.
Your e-mail address.
Your instructor’s name.
Abstract – A brief summary or synopsis of your proposal.
Table of Contents.
Body of the research paper – The body will present your content, with the following headings and subheadings appropriately placed:
Article Summaries and a critical Evaluation of the Psychological Measure.
References – List of articles summarized and cited in your paper.
Kaplan, R. M., & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2005). Psychological testing: Principles, applications, and issues. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Your instructor may also use the APA Writing Feedback Rubric to provide additional feedback on your writing ability.
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Project Grading Criteria
Critical Literature Review Scoring Guide Grading Rubric
Criteria Non-performance Basic Proficient Distinguished
Compare assessment instrument to other instruments which measure similar constructs and use different administration methods.
25% Does not describe assessment instrument to other instruments which measure similar constructs and use different administration methods. Describes other instruments which measure similar constructs using different administration methods. Compares assessment instrument to other instruments which measure similar constructs and use different administration methods. Evaluates other instruments which measure similar constructs using different administration methods, and makes a recommendation regarding most effective administration method.
Interpret psychometric properties of assessment instrument.
25% Does not interpret psychometric properties of assessment instrument. Interprets psychometric properties, but does not evaluate instrument against those properties. Interprets psychometric properties of an assessment instrument. Interprets psychometric properties of instrument and explains implications of ignoring results.
Apply standards and principles for assessment when using assessment instrument.
25% Does not describe standards and principles for assessment when using assessment instrument. Describes standards and principles for assessment when using assessment instrument. Applies standards and principles for assessment when using assessment instrument. Applies standards and principles for assessment when using assessment instrument, and suggests methods for mitigating any of those concerns.
Evaluate psychological measure.
25% Does not summarize psychological measure. Summarizes a psychological measure. Evaluates psychological measure. Evaluates psychological measure, and articulates a solid argument regarding its use.
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Project Component Course Grade Weight Unit Due
Topic Selection 5% 3
Annotated Bibliography 10% 5
Outline 10% 6
Critical Literature Review 20% 10
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[u03a1] Unit 3 Assignment 1
Website icon Topic Selection Scoring Guide.
Your topic selection must contain the following information in a separate document.
Select and briefly describe a standardized psychological test currently used in your present or future occupation or area of specialization. You can make the topic more specific by concentrating on a specific population or activity of interest in which the test is used. This description should be brief but specific enough to present an overview of what your literature review will cover and to allow the instructor to assess the acceptability of the project. Provide supporting information as to why this particular topic or instrument was chosen for the literature review.
Provide a construct such as a thesis statement, problem statement, or research question that will guide the literature review. The thesis statement, problem statement, or research question must be related to tests and measurements and be applicable to your current or future employment or your specialization at Capella.
What did you learn about the standardization of the test you chose? In your response, include the following:
Describe the standardization process used in the test construction and how this affects the administration of the test. Include a description of the standardization sample.
When administering the test, what are the required standardization conditions?
In your literature review so far, were there concerns about test bias with the test you chose?
Present ideas for the concept, point, or thesis to be developed. You must present main ideas that support your topic selection.
Include a literature summary that lists the number of articles available on the topic and explain your search strategy.
Submit your topic selection in the assignment area.
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[u05a1] Unit 5 Assignment 1
Website icon Annotated Bibliography Scoring Guide.
Website icon Capella Online Writing Center: APA Style and Formatting.
Website icon Capella Online Writing Center: Annotated Bibliography.
The purpose of the Annotated Bibliography assignment is to provide an overview of the resources you intend to use for the course project. Your bibliography provides the instructor insight for the appropriateness of your chosen references. It gives the instructor the opportunity to provide feedback and direction on the list of resources before the final project is due.
Feedback is given to provide direction for areas that may need improvement, clarification, or additional support. It is corrective and directive in nature. Therefore, your bibliography must contain sufficient details on which to base feedback.
Your Annotated Bibliography must:
Begin with a clear thesis statement, problem statement, or research question, and be:
Related to tests and measurements.
Applicable to your current or future employment or your specialization at Capella.
Related to a specific psychometric theory or principle of tests and measurements.
Include a minimum of 10-12 references. Note: Your course texts cannot be used as primary sources and cannot be listed as part of the 10-12 reference requirements. You may use the texts as auxiliary resources and list them in addition to the minimum required references.
Include references that are mainly research articles, specifically:
References must come from peer-reviewed and scholarly publications.
Web sites are not considered scholarly publications.
Wikipedia is not considered a scholarly source and cannot be used as a scholarly source in your paper.
Select references that appropriately support the topic of the paper and are recently published, with selected articles that relate to one of the following:
Topic of interest.
Principles covered in tests and measurement.
The psychometric theory related to research.
The principles of psychometrics.
Include a summary of each article that explains the following:
The reason you chose the article.
The relevance of the article to the course project.
How the reference will add value to the research paper.
How each reference pertains to the thesis statement, problem statement, or research question.
Use APA 6th edition style to the list of references. Note: You will use the entries of the bibliography as the list of references for the Critical Literature Review. However, use APA formatting for the list of references. Do not submit your Annotated Bibliography as your list of references. You must reformat the document so that references adhere to the requirements of the APA Manual (6th ed.).
Submit your Annotated Bibliography in the assignment area.
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[u06a1] Unit 6 Assignment 1
Website icon Outline Scoring Guide.
Website icon Capella Online Writing Center: APA Style and Formatting.
The purpose of the Outline assignment is to provide an overview of your course project. Your outline provides the instructor insight for the appropriateness of your chosen topic and supporting material. It gives the instructor the opportunity to provide feedback and direction on the final paper before it is due. Feedback is given to provide direction for areas that may need improvement, clarification, or additional support. It is corrective and directive in nature.
Your outline must contain sufficient detail on which to base feedback and should:
Begin with a clear thesis statement, problem statement, or research question. Your outline must be related to tests and measurements, applicable to your current or future employment or your specialization at Capella, and related to a specific psychometric theory or other principle of tests and measurements.
Explain the main points to be developed in the paper and tie them to the project objectives. Your outline must include a description of each major point and how each directly relates to the stated thesis statement, problem statement, or research question.
Include a description of each supporting point and how each directly relates to the major point as well as the thesis statement, problem statement, or research question. The points listed in the outline must relate directly to your topic, psychometric theory, and concepts of tests and measurement.
Identify where each supporting reference will be integrated. There must be at least one reference to support each major point of the paper. You must also indicate the specific references included in your Annotated Bibliography that are used to support each main point of the final paper. Note: Your course texts cannot be used as primary sources, and cannot be listed as part of the 10-12 reference requirements. You may use the texts as auxiliary resources and list them in addition to the minimum required references.
Apply APA 6th edition style to the in-text citations and list of references.
Review the Outline Scoring Guide to understand the grading criteria for the assignment, and submit your outline in the assignment area.
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