Quantitative Critical Review

1555 Words 6 Pages
Critical Review of Quantitative Research

This paper is a critical review of the empirical research study (Weigle, 2010), Validation of automated scores of TOEFL iBT tasks against not-test indicators of writing ability. TOEFL iBT is the acronym for the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test. The topic of Weigle’s study is the validity of automated scores produced using the computer program e-rater.

Weigle (2010) builds up a convincing rationale in her introduction and literature review. Creswell (2014, pp.78, 84, 85) describes, in a five-part template, how to write a ‘statement of the problem’ section, these five aspects being:
(1) the topic; (2) the research program; (3) a justification
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Weigle’s (2010) literature review, which is organised thematically, is sufficiently comprehensive, spanning two pages with a total of 27 research studies being cited in it, 24 being primary citations and 3 secondary citations. The Literature review commences with a citation to research that illustrates the early history of automated scoring (Page, 1966), and then, with information more specifically related to Weigle’s research, the history of e-rater being used on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) and in ETS’ web-based essay evaluation service, Criterion is cited (Burstein et al., 2003, as cited in Weigle, 2010, p.336).

The second paragraph, the longest in the literature review, goes into more details about e-rater and summarises some key features of the version of e-rater that was current at the time of Weigle’s writing. These features, as listed by Weigle (2010, p.336) are:
Ø Errors in grammar, usage, mechanics, style;
Ø Organization and development;
Ø Lexical complexity; and
Ø Prompt-specific vocabulary
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Weigle (2010, p.338) writes that: validation of automated scoring systems is still an area where research needs to be done; the current study aims to contribute to the growing body of knowledge in this area.

Research Question
There is one research question in the study, which is stated in a section of its own, immediately following the literature review. The question is expressed in a clear sentence, 38 words in length. Although the sentence is slightly long the variables and actions described by the sentence had already been developed through the earlier parts of the article, the introduction and the literature review, and the research question has encapsulated those variables well. As mentioned in the preceding section, Weigle (2010) has soundly and competently demonstrated how the research question emerged through her literature review. It matches the first four out of five of the guidelines given by Creswell.

Appropriateness of Research Design and

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