Learning Disability Identification Criteria and Reporting in Empirical Research: A Review of 2001–2013


This review documents the learning disabilities (LD) identification criteria and procedures used in empirical research including students with LD published from 2001 to 2013 in three journals dedicated to the study of LD. Results reveal several troublesome findings related to transparency in reporting and the coherence of the LD construct. Nearly one-third of all empirical studies investigating LD did not describe who identified the participants as having LD or how they were identified. Information on the specific area of LD was similarly lacking. Across studies, identification criteria varied widely. Moving forward, the authors contend that greater transparency and consistency with regard to the definition and operationalization of the construct of LD in empirical research is necessary if solidification of the scientific construct of LD is to be achieved.


Williams, J. L., Miciak, J., McFarland, L., & Wexler, J. (2016). Learning disability identification criteria and reporting in empirical research: A review of 2001–2013. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 31(4), 221–229. doi:10.1111/ldrp.12119