Odom, S. L., Brantlinger, E., Gersten, R., Horner, R. H., Thompson, B., Harris, K. R. (2005). Research in special education: Scientific methods and evidence-based practices. Exceptional Children, 71(2), 137-148.
Abstract by author:
This article sets the context for the development of research quality indicators and guidelines for evidence of effective practices provided by different methodologies. The current conceptualization of scientific research in education and the complexity of conducting research in special education settings underlie the development of quality indicators. Programs of research in special education may be viewed as occurring in stages: moving from initial descriptive research, to experimental causal research, to finally research that examines the processes that might affect wide-scale adoption and use of a practice. At each stage, different research questions are relevant, and different research methodologies to address the research questions are needed.
This special issue represents the Council for Exceptional Children's effort to establish guidelines for effective practices for teaching students with disabilities
advocates for multiple research methodologies
Indicates that special education research is complex, due to following factors:
1. variety of student participants, spanning 12 federal disability categories
2. breadth of special education contexts -- both chronologically from early childhood to young adulthood, as well as teaching approaches including separate settings as well as inclusive general education settings
The implications of this complexity include that one must specify the effectiveness of the instructional practice for which group of students in which context.
Provides a brief history of special education research, noting that experimental and quasi-experimental were routine, and that a more recent additional approach is single-subject designs.
Notes that a recent charge in the federal Department of Education has been to establish scientific research body in educational interventions, with the creation of the IES
-- Referenced: Whitehurst, G. J. (2003). The Institute of Education
Sciences: New wine, new bottles. Paper presented at the
annual conference of the American Educational Research
Association, Los Angeles. Retrieved September
20, 2004, from http//www.ed.gov/rschstar/research/
-- emphasises use of randomized clinical trials (RCT) with random assignment of participants to intervention or control groups
Points out that the research methodology depends on the question being asked
offer their "Quality Indicators of Research Methodology" (p. 141)
-- degree of quality is equated with degree to which researchers and readers have confidence in the findings, based in part on whether alternative explanations for the findings and researchers' conclusions have been refuted
Other models of quality research
-- developed by APA Division 16
-- developed by Society for the Study of School Psychology
Evidence Based Practice (p. 142)
"Following this [Cochrane] model, the Campbell Collaboration
(http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/FraAbout.html) was established in the United
States in 1999 to assist individuals in education and the social sciences to make informed decisions about what works based on high-quality research
and reviews" (p. 143).
[stopped taking notes on p. 144]