Comparing Apples and Oranges: Fifteen Years of Definitions of Giftedness in Research

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76 Scopus citations


The lack of a unified definition of giftedness leads researchers to use very different operationalizations when selecting a sample of gifted individuals for use in research. We found 104 empirical articles from 38 journals that differentiated between gifted and nongifted students which were analyzed to determine the most common methods of identifying individuals in research. Results of the analysis show a lack of consensus as to what qualifies a person to be defined as gifted for the purposes of research. This lack of consensus leads to lower generalizability of research about giftedness and to an inability for researchers in the field to compare results of studies. An agreed-upon unified definition of giftedness for the purposes of research will lead to a more homogeneous group of participants, which in turn would lead to multiple benefits, including higher external validity in research designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-70
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Advanced Academics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • generalizability
  • gifted
  • identification
  • research definition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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