ERIC Number: EJ964287
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Reference Count: 15
Commentary: Using Mixed Methods to Transform Special Education Research
Trainor, Audrey A.
Learning Disability Quarterly, v34 n3 p219-221 Aug 2011
Klingner and Boardman (this issue) offer a cogent and compelling argument for opening the door for the acceptance and use of mixed methods in special education research. Self-identifying as pragmatists, they embody this paradigmatic view by focusing on the utility, efficacy, and accuracy of mixed methods, an argument that should appeal to the values and logic of many special education researchers. In this author's view, Klingner and Boardman chose a smart rhetorical strategy because utility, efficacy, and accuracy map broadly to reliability and validity. And, in this field, methodologies that are thought to increase a work's reliability and validity are especially valuable in raising the quality and quantity of other highly valued fruits of the labor of research (i.e., results-based processes, outcomes, and evidence). To illustrate their point, Klingner and Boardman discuss the inadequate and overly simplistic conceptualizations of participants' sociodemographic characteristics, contributing to a static view of culture in reading intervention research. Here, they argue convincingly that the use of mixed methods can help researchers focus on multiple and multilayered research questions that also include the collection and analysis of data that capture cultural practices, institutional cultures, and context. In this article, the author discusses the use of mixed methods to transform special education research. She argues that mixed methods, if accepted as a dialogic methodological innovation rather than a reification of accuracy and verification, may open a transformative dialogue among experts, the established and the fringed alike.
Descriptors: Educational Research, Validity, Researchers, Special Education, Mixed Methods Research, Values, Reliability, Ethics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
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