Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: June 22, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781848607989 | Print ISBN: 9781412907293 | Online ISBN: 9781848607989| Publisher:SAGE Publications LtdAbout this handbook
Chapter 14: Perspectives Shaping and Challenging Research Approaches in Special Education
James L. Paul & Kathleen Fowler & Ann Cranston-Gingras
Perspectives shaping and challenging research approaches in special education Special education as a modern professional area of research and practice developed and expanded in the last half of the twentieth century. During that period, dramatic changes occurred across disciplines in the social sciences with respect to what was considered legitimate research. Logical positivism, the traditional epistemology of research, was defeated around the middle of the century and several worldviews emerged that provided alternative understandings of knowledge and logics for doing science (Popper, 1959: Quine, 1961; Phillips, 1987). Social scientists were deeply divided in their views and there were no shared rules for adjudicating differences. These differences also existed among special education researchers who struggled to develop a well-reasoned and relevant epistemology for doing social science in a political environment that enacted strong vested interests in supporting particular policies and approaches to intervention. These researchers were charged with developing knowledge bases ...