Evaluating a Psychological Test
This document describes the format and content of the test evaluation paper for this course.
Guidelines for Evaluating a Psychological Test Research Paper:
• The test you evaluate must be a published psychological test that is listed in either Mental Measurements Yearbook, a peer-reviewed or referred journal article, or the textbook for this course. It would be wise to select a test that contains at least one review in Mental Measurements Yearbook. These reviews typically contain information that you will need for this paper.
• You cannot use the following tests: WAIS, WISC, Stanford-Binet, MMPI (adult version), or SAT. These tests are off-limits.
• The paper must be written in APA format.
•You must base this paper on one or more reviews from:
- Mental Measurements Yearbook
- four (4) peer reviewed professional journals.
- If you use the EBSCO databases provided , you can check a box that will restrict the search to peer reviewed articles. If you have questions on whether a specific journal is acceptable, e mail the name of the journal and the name of the article to the instructor of this course.
Instructions: Psychological Test
- Information from the textbook. If the textbook contains an interesting fact, you must track down the original article the textbook is summarizing. You can read and cite articles that are referenced in the textbook. In fact, this is an excellent way to find articles.
- Web sites and web articles. These are off limits, even if the web site is maintained by the publisher of the test.
- Books. Please don’t ask me to believe that you read an entire book for a five-page paper.
- Newspaper, popular magazines & trade magazines. Psychology Today is a trade magazine…it is not an acceptable source for this paper.
- Book reviews, editorials or introductions to a volume in peer reviewed journals.
- If you decide to not use reviews from Mental Measurements Yearbook, base your paper on five (5) peer reviewed journal articles.
- In the unlikely event that you cannot find all the information you need for this paper in Mental Measurements Yearbook or the journal articles, contact the instructor via e mail. Or you might consider selecting another psychological test.
- Make sure that you define any terms or acronyms that you use in the paper. Don’t assume that the reader will know what these terms might mean. Failure to do this will cause you to lose points.
- You must use your OWN WORDS when writing this paper. You are not allowed to copy and quote material from Mental Measurements Yearbook or the articles. Using quotes will lower your score.
Major sections & sub-sections headings of test evaluation paper.
Following APA guidelines, use the following major sections and sub-sections headings in Evaluating a Psychological Test Research Paper
- Title page
- Title of paper
- Purpose, design & format of test
- Psychometric properties of test
- Use in clinical or research settings
- Strengths and weaknesses
Evaluating a Psychological Test Research Paper
1. Title page. Include the title, your name, student ID, and date paper is submitted, and course and section number of the course.
2. Abstract. Your abstract should be a single paragraph on a separate page that briefly summarizes the main points of your paper. Start by mentioning the name of the psychological test and what it is designed to measure. Then briefly summarize what your paper says about this test. It should be limited to 120 words and should be single spaced.
3. Body of paper. This section should start with the title as the major heading. The body of the paper should be about five pages long, double spaced (this does not include the pages for title page, abstract, etc.).
Begin the body of the paper by naming the psychological test you selected and give a brief overview of what it is.
- Purpose, design & format of test.
- What is the purpose of the test is (e.g., is it designed to determine if a patient is clinically depressed, is it designed to assess the personality of normal individuals).
- What population is this test intended for? Is it a test that is only used with patients in mental hospitals? Is it a test that is used for young children? Is it a test that is used with adults 18 years and older?
- What is the test designed to measure (e.g., does it measure depression, intelligence, interpersonal skills)? Be specific. For example, if it is a test of intelligence, do not merely state that the test measures intelligence. State the specific types of intelligence (e.g., verbal, spatial, etc) the test is designed to measure.
- What type of items does the test contain? Mention both the number of items and the format of the items (e.g., T/F, multiple choice). If the information is available, provide an example of a test question.
- What population was used to define the norms for this test? When describing the normative population, be specific. Mention the number and types of individuals (e.g., 1000 adult males and 750 adult females) that were used. Be warned that some reviews in Mental Measurement Yearbooks do not contain this information. If you can’t find it, you might want to select another test because you are responsible for finding this information even if it is not in the Yearbooks. You can contact the instructor for assistance if you have trouble on this point.
- Psychometric properties of test. In this section of the paper, you will describe at least one measure of the reliability and two measures of validity of the test. This section must be specific. If you merely state that the test is “reliable” or that it “meets accepted standards of reliability” you will lose points.
- Describe the type of reliability measure you use in the paper. If it is a test-retest reliability estimate, state that it is test-retest reliability. If it is a coefficient alpha, state that it’s coefficient alpha. List the specific number used to quantify the reliability. If the test-reliability estimate is .80, then state this number in your paper.
- Depending on the test you select, you may be able to include multiple measures of reliability in this section. For example, you might find both test-retest and coefficient alpha estimates that you can describe and list. But you must include at least ONE reliability measure in this section.
- Describe the two specific types of validity measures that you are using. If scores on your test correlate with scores on a different test that is designed to measure the same trait, then make sure you describe this as convergent validity. If scores on your test accurately predict future behavior (e.g., SAT scores predict GPA in college), then make sure you describe this as predictive validity. At least one of the validity measures must based upon a journal article instead of Mental Measurements Yearbook.
- For validity measures that are based on statistics (i.e., Construct and Criterion Measures), list the specific numbers used to quantify validity. If the correlation between your test and another test that measures the same trait is .90, then list this number in your paper. For validity measures that are not based on statistics (e.g., face validity and some types of construct validity), make sure you include enough detail in your description so that the reader is convinced the test is reliable. Merely stating, for example, that experts believe the test has face validity will not convince the reader that will grade your paper.