Education Quarterly Reviews

ISSN 2621-5799

Published: 24 December 2018

Qualitative Research and Special Education

Mariam Alnaim

St. Louis University, United States of America

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Qualitative research methods constitute the bulk of scientific design in the special education field because of their flexibility, open-ended nature, and the delivered ability to explore a complex reality with more insights and greater detail. To add, the qualitative design has been gaining even more attention in the recent decades, becoming a whole trend in special education literature. Based on the latter, the purpose of this research paper is to trace the usefulness and limitations of the qualitative methodology used in special education research in order to single out those methods which will appear the most applicable and practical in the field. Hence, the study design involves a literature review of five scientific articles devoted to qualitative research methods in special education research. The findings prove qualitative research methods as those which provide coherent, descriptive knowledge, help the researchers to get to the causes of the studied phenomena, structure the received data, and plan their further actions. The research paper also succeeds in defining three major qualitative methods, namely case studies in general, collective case studies, and ethnography, which seem the most hopeful in the special education field. The use of each depends on the specificity of data required, along with the challenges of the participants. At the same time, the study happens to reveal a number of challenges, which a scholar should be aware of in case of employing the qualitative design in special education research. Specifically, the research paper emphasizes various ethical issues that arise when one deals with the participants having special needs. In this case, a researcher should assure the safety and privacy of his or her target population; effective communication strategies are also to be set.


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