School Psychology Review

Professional Judgment: A Critical Appraisal

David W. Barnett

pp. 658-672

Mini-Series on Primary Prevention: From Theory on Practice and Mini-Series on Research Methods in School Psychology

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ABSTRACT: Professional judgment is the term used to describe personal processes that guide scientist and practitioner behavior in controversial and ambiguous circumstances. Practitioners are expected to base complex decisions within a “scientist-practitioner”framework. Widely analyzed with respect to diagnostic functions,this article focuses the analysis of professional judgment on the cognitions and behaviors of psychologists during assessment and intervention design. Following the examination of these components of professional judgment, (a) the analysis of alternatives in professional behaviors, (b) the identification of one’s “personal”model of practice, (c) sources of error, and (d) concepts and practices developed to study professional judgment are discussed.