Current Research Emphasis in the Field of Psychological Assessment: A Panorama of Investigatory Domain

By Piotrowski, Chris | North American Journal of Psychology, September 2019 | Go to article overview

Current Research Emphasis in the Field of Psychological Assessment: A Panorama of Investigatory Domain


Piotrowski, Chris, North American Journal of Psychology


Psychological assessment has been a major component of mental health evaluations (Boyle, 2012; Bram & Peebles, 2014; Harwood et al., 2011; Wright et al., 2017), largely across the specialty areas of IQ, personality, behavioral, and neuropsychological testing and assessment. Moreover, coursework in mental health evaluation has been a main instructional focus of graduate clinical training (Belter & Piotrowski, 2001; Mihura et al., 2017; Piotrowski, 2015; Smith, 2017; Stedman et al., 2017). Despite the fact that comprehensive textbooks on the topic have harbored much professional attention over the years (Archer & Wheeler, 2013; Butcher, 2009; Dorfman & Hersen, 2013; Graham & Naglieri, 2003; Groth-Marnat & Wright, 2016; Hays, 2013; Hilsenroth & Segal, 2004; Maruish, 1999, 2017; Weiner & Greene, 2008; Wright, 2011), few studies have examined the breadth and scope of research attention and foci in this clinical assessment area. Thus, the current study aims to expand on limited findings to date and provide a more lucid and contemporary perspective on the domain structure of published research in the specialty area of psychological assessment.

RATIONALE FOR STUDY

Bibliometric Studies in the Field of Psychology

Bibliometric analysis is a recognized and valid means of gaining an objective perspective on research trends of the extant literature (De Bellis, 2009; Nederhof, 2006), including bibliometric study on a myriad of psychological topics in the mental health field (e.g., Ho & Hartley, 2016; Piotrowski, 2012; Rusk & Waters, 2013). Moreover, several reports have examined the journal contents (i.e., content analysis) of specific scholarly periodicals in the discipline of psychology (e.g., Allik, 2012; Gonzalez-Alvarez & Palomar-Garcia, 2014; Kozlowski et al., 2017; Mogil, 2009; Piotrowski, 2012, 2016; Wylie et al., 2018). Yet despite the vast volume of studies and repository of knowledge about the topic of Psychological Assessment, little is known about the breadth of research emphasis and structure of published scholarship on this clinical specialty.

Bibliometric Analyses in Psychological Assessment

Several bibliometric analyses on the major sub-fields in the assessment enterprise (i.e., intelligence, clinical evaluation, neuropsychology, school psychology) have been reported (Begeny et al., 2018; Cristovao et al., 2017; Guido et al., 2015; Haslam & Lusher, 2011), as well studies on assessment instruments related to clinical conditions such as pain and eating disorders (Piotrowski 2018, 2019). To date, however, the majority of bibliometric studies with regard to assessment proper have focused on personality factors or personality assessment. Allik (2013) analyzed patterns of cited references across 9 personality psychology journals, whereas Smith et al. (2018) reviewed 210 studies on Rorschach methodology standards. Another study reported on a comparative analysis of seminal articles versus recent coverage published in the European Journal of Psychological Assessment (Alonso-Arbiol & van de Vijver, 2010). These authors mainly examined measures/tests used in research studies. Green et al. (2011) specifically focused on reliability reported practices, over 3 decades, in a sample of articles in the journal Psychological Assessment. Recently, Piotrowski (2019) conducted a topical content analysis of the specific area of personality assessment, in a bibliometric analysis of the Journal of Personality Assessment. This latter study served as an impetus for the current investigation in that a more extensive examination of the general field of assessment would greatly enhance our understanding of the scope and breadth of research attention by scholars devoted to psychological assessment topics and issues.

INVESTIGATORY APPROACH

The aim of the current bibliometric analysis was to identify the major 'topical' areas of research investigation, over the past decade, in the highly regarded APA journal devoted specifically to assessment: Psychological Assessment (from hereon, PA). …

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