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Topics in Special Education Research


Ethics in Research. Review for, Take, & Correct Quiz. Discussion & Lecture on Experimental Research. ... Research misconduct. Data Management. Responsible authorship. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Topics in Special Education Research

Topics in Special Education Research
  • Session 3-Experimental
  • Quasi-experimental Research

This Afternoons Agenda
  • Review Course Requirements Upcoming Assignments
  • Ethics in Research
  • Review for, Take, Correct Quiz
  • Discussion Lecture on Experimental Research
  • Activity
  • Dismissal

  • Discussion Guides- Please submit to dropbox
    folder and label
  • 3 main points for all of the readings for that
  • No need to double space
  • Address all of the headings (even the
    difficulties, concerns, questions section).
  • Use complete sentences
  • These are designed to guide your discussions.
  • Please put your questions for ME on the feedback
    guide, so if they arent answered by your
    discussion group, type them on the feedback

Upcoming Assignments
  • Today NIH/CITI training modules
  • Annotated Bibliography (individual assignment)
  • Each individual reviews 3 research articles
    regarding their topic
  • See Example http//
  • Conceptual Framework (group assignment)
  • Group submits short summary of literature and
    presents a conceptual framework for theories that
    drive their proposal.
  • Article Review Assignment (group assignment)
  • Written Research Proposal (group assignment)
  • Presentation of Research Proposal (group

Research Question(s) Guidelines
  • Briefly and clearly state how each research
    question will be addressed.
  • For example, This research question will be
    answered by comparing the end-of-year state wide
    test scores of students who received the
    intervention and those who did not receive the
  • Briefly present the proposed theoretical and
    practical implications of the findings.
  • e.g., The results of this study may have
    implications for the use of the evidence-based
    Super-Duper Reading Intervention by elementary
    special education teachers

Research Question Tips
  • Framed based to operationalize (clearly define so
    that it can be replicated) the objectives of the
    proposed research project.
  • Mention the IV and DV and how they will affect
    each other
  • Framed based on methodology
  • Experimental/Quasi-experimental/Single-subject
    Is there a causal of functional relationships
    between IV and DV
  • Correlational Is there a correlational
    relationship between IV and DV
  • Descriptive/Qualitative Describe a phenomenon or
    issue better, What is the prevalence of
    intellectual disabilities in African-American
    middle school students?

Ethics in Research
  • What did you learn from doing the CITI course?
  • Regarding
  • Research misconduct
  • Data Management
  • Responsible authorship
  • Collaboration in Research
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//

The Belmont Report (1979), National Commission3
  • 1. Respect for Persons-
  • Required to obtain informed consent respect
    privacy of participants
  • 2. Beneficence-
  • Required to use best possible design to maximize
    benefits minimize harms, show they can perform
    the procedures and handle the risks, prohibit
    research that that is without a favorable
    risk-benefit relationship
  • 3. Justice
  • Required to select participants equitably
    avoid exploitation of vulnerable populations or
    populations of convenience.

PSU Human Subjects Research Review Committee
  • http//
  • Portland State University (PSU) is responsible
    for the rights and welfare of human subjects
    involved in research sponsored or conducted by
    the university.   In order to meet this
    responsibility, the University established the
    Human Subjects Research Review Committee. 
  • Members are charged with reviewing all research
    conducted under the auspices of PSU that involves
    human subjects to ensure adequate protections are
    in place.

Review for Quiz
In-text Citations Formatting Quotations
When quoting, introduce the quotation with a
signal phrase. Make sure to include the authors
name, the year of publication, the page number,
but keep the citation briefdo not repeat the
Caruth (1996) states that a traumatic response
frequently entails a delayed, uncontrolled
repetitive appearance of hallucinations and
other intrusive phenomena (p.11).
A traumatic response frequently entails a
delayed, uncontrolled repetitive appearance of
hallucinations and other intrusive phenomena
(Caruth, 1996, p.11).
In-text Citations A Work with Two Authors
When citing a work with two authors, use and in
between authors name in the signal phrase yet
between their names in parenthesis.
According to feminist researchers Raitt and Tate
(1997), It is no longer true to claim that
women's responses to the war have been
ignored (p. 2). Some feminists
researchers question that women's
responses to the war have been ignored (Raitt
Tate, 1997, p. 2).
In-text Citations A Work with Three to Five
When citing a work with three to five authors,
identify all authors in the signal phrase or in
parenthesis. (Harklau, Siegal,
Losey, 1999) In subsequent citations, only use
the first author's last name followed by "et al."
in the signal phrase or in parentheses.
(Harklau et al.,
In-text Citations A work with 6 or more authors
  • When citing a work with more than 6 authors, you
    do NOT have to identify all authors in the signal
    phrase or parenthesis.
  • You identify the first author and use et al.
    after his/her name with the date of the
  • (Carr et al., 1999) OR
  • signal phrase in text e.g.
  • Carr et al. (1999) conducted a meta-analysis of
    behavior support practices

Steps in the Research/Scientific Process
  • 1. Identify socially important issue
  • 2. Review current literature
  • 3. Define conceptual model
  • 4. Define specific hypothesis(es) and research
  • 5. Define dependent variable(s)/measure
  • 6. Identify independent variable(s)/measures
  • 7. Select appropriate research design
  • 8. Obtain consents
  • 9. Collect data
  • 10. Analyze data
  • 11. Communicate results
  • Written presentation
  • Oral presentation

Conceptual Models (or theoretical models)
  • Theory that drives the research.
  • Guides our thinking and provides rules,
    principles that guides the research and
  • Structure of assumptions, principles, and rules
    that holds together the ideas of a broad concept.
  • Outlines your research

Logical Flaws of FBA use in public schools
(Scott et al., 2005)
  • FBA is used mainly as a reactionary approach.
  • opportunity is lost to utilize FBA technology to
    develop interventions that address minor
    behaviors that usually precede more serious
  • FBA is restricted to set of procedures used by
  • The rich supply of information from people with
    whom the student interacts with the most is lost.
  • FBA is restricted to rigorous procedures that are
    unrealistic for public school settings.
  • Disincentive for using FBA technology.
  • Cynicism as to the practicality of FBA .

ProactiveParsimoniousPractical FBA in schools
  • FBA conceptualized by Scott et al. as a proactive
    pre-referral routine that uses the most
    parsimonious procedures required to create an
    effective behavior support plan.
  • Given the time resource constraints in schools,
    we must encourage schools to work smarter to
    develop capacity to implement technology to
    effectively support more students.
  • Use Practical FBA procedures to develop capacity
    within a school to utilize FBA technology.

Practical FBA Logic Model
Individualized Supports 5 of Students
Behavior Specialist responsible for 25 FBAs in
school of 500
Personnel with flexible roles conduct proactive
Practical FBA to expand the scope of FBA,
prevent intensive problem behaviors, decrease
reliance on specialist.
Secondary Group Supports 10-15 of Students
School-wide Positive Behavioral Supports 80 of
Literature Review Guidelines
  • A) You should educate readers about the topic and
    provide a clear rationale as to why the study is
    important and necessary based on the previous
    research and writing on the topic.
  • B) Within your literature review you will present
    the logic or conceptual framework as to why and
    how your current study (topics, methods, designs)
    is organized the way it is.
  • C) Make this section compelling. Concisely
    explain the social importance of what you are
  • e.g., Start with a powerful statement or

Correct Quiz
  • Get together with 2-3 other people and use your
    discussion guides to guide your discussion.
  • Spend more time on the chapter reading and the
    Quality Indicator Article as we will be doing an
    activity on the other two articles later!

  • Experimental Quasi Experimental Research
  • Research Designs Threats to Validity
  • Attempt tonight to apply the principle of
    teaching less more thoroughly.
  • https//

Experimental Design
  • Gold Standard in Research (Moore McCabe,
    1993 Feuer, Towne, Shavelson, 2002 Slavin,
  • Rooted in postpositivist paradigm.
  • Seeks to make causal conclusions.
  • Difference between experimental design and
    quasi-experimental design is the use of random
    selection of participants.

In both experimental quasi-experimental
  • Emphasis is on operationally defining the
    variables (dependent independent) and the
    context of the research.
  • Dependent variable(s)- outcome variables (e.g.,
    reading scores)
  • Independent variable(s)- variable that is
    manipulated (the intervention or practice e.g.,
    reading curriculum)
  • Context- defined clearly so replication can occur
    (e.g., K-3 school with 200 students, etc.)

Experimental Group vs Control Group
  • Experimental (or treatment group)- receives the
  • Control group- business as usual.
  • For true experimental research, participants
    are randomly assigned to each group.
  • In order for to be considered random, every
    person must have an equal chance of being in
    either group

Experimental and quasi-experimental research
  • Direct manipulation of an independent variable

  • Refers to whether a study is able to
    scientifically answer the questions it is
    intended to answer.
  • Extent to which your test (or study) measures
    what it intends to measure.

Internal Validity
  • Changes observed in the dependent variable
    (outcome) are due to the effect of the
    independent variable (intervention).. not to
    some other unintended variables (extraneous,
    alternative explanations)
  • 12 threats to internal validity (noted by
    Mertens, 2010)
  • https//

12 Threats to Internal Validity (think when
something other than the IV affect the results of
a study)
  • History- events other than IV affected results?
  • Maturation- changes in participants?
  • Testing- participants became test-wise?
  • Instrumentation- difference between pre- and
  • Statistical regression- extreme groups used?
  • Differential selection- groups differed in ways
    other than exposure to IV?

Threats to Internal Validity continued
  • 7. Experimental mortality- drop outs of study?
  • 8. Selection-maturation- was selection a problem
    based on the characteristics of the sample?
    (e.g., participants in one group may have been
  • 9. Experimental treatment diffusion- treatment
    control groups shared information?
  • 10. Compensatory rivalry by the control group
  • 11. Compensatory equalization of treatments
    extra resources given to control group?
  • 12. Resentful demoralization of the control group

External Validity (think generalizability)
  • External Validity extent to which findings in
    one study can be applied to another situation.
  • AKA ecological validity, generalizability
  • 10 threats posed as questions (noted by Mertens,

10 Threats (questions) to External Validity
  1. Were the variables, context, and treatment
    described in sufficient detail?
  2. Were multiple treatments used? Did they interfere
    with each other?
  3. Was the Hawthorne effect (special attention as
    part of study affecting results) operating?
  4. Was the treatment influenced by being novel or
  5. What was the influence of the individual

Questions to external validity continued
  • 6. Were the participants sensitized by taking a
  • 7. Were the participants sensitized by taking a
  • 8. What was the influence of the type of
    measurement used for the dependent variable?
  • 9. Was there an interaction of history and
    treatment effects?
  • 10. What was the influence of the time period
    that elapsed between the treatment and
    administration of the dependent variable?

Treatment Fidelityanother threat
  • Treatment fidelity- implementer of the
    independent variable follows the exact procedures
    specified for administering the treatment(s).

Strength of treatmentanother threat
  • May not be reasonable to expect participants to
    improve given the strength of the intervention.
  • Intervention may not have been tried long enough
    or delivered with adequate intensity.

Coding system used for research designs
  • R Random assignment of subjects to conditions
  • XExperimental treatment (e.g., reading
  • O Observation of the dependent variable (e.g.,
    test or observation measure)

Single Group Designs
  • One-shot case study
  • X O
  • Threats
  • History, maturation, mortality (drop out)
  • Other concerns using this design?
  • No control group No pretest to know if it was
    the intervention that affected outcome.
  • Very weak design

  • One-Group Pretest-Posttest Design
  • O X O
  • Threats
  • History, maturation,
  • What would help control for these threats?
  • Control group- both groups taking the tests at
    same time, but one not receiving the intervention
  • But sometimes it is difficult to find a control

Time Series Design
  • Involves measurement of the dependent variable at
    periodic intervals.
  • O O O O O X O O O O O
  • If behavior is stable in baseline (before
    intervention), then change can be attributed to
  • Controls for several threats
  • Maturation, testing, differential selection (same
    persons involved)
  • https//

Experimental Designs
  • Pre-test-Post-test Control Group Design
  • R O X O
  • R O O
  • Controls for what threats?
  • history, differential selection, mortality
    (pre-test can show differences in drop-outs)
  • Posttest-only Control Group Design
  • R X O
  • R O
  • Controls for what threats?
  • Same as above, except for mortality (no pretest)

  • Single-Factor Multiple-Treatment Designs
  • X1 intervention 1
  • X2 intervention 2
  • .
  • R O X1 O
  • R O X2 O
  • R O O
  • Controls for threats because participants
    randomly assigned to comparison groups and
    pre-post-tests conducted.

Solomon 4-group Design
  • If worried about pretesting affecting validity
  • R O X O
  • R O O
  • R X O
  • R O
  • https//

Quasi-experimental designs
  • Similar designs to experimental designs, except
  • Lacking.
  • Random assignment
  • Cant make a strong causal statement
  • https//

How do we know if a research study involves
rigorous, systematic and objective procedures?
  • CEC-Division for Research
  • Sponsored prominent researchers to author papers
    to propose
  • Parameters for establishing that reported
    research has been conducted with high quality
    (quality indicators)
  • Criteria for determining whether a practice has
    been studied sufficiently (enough high-quality
    research studies conducted on its effectiveness)
    and shown to improve student outcomes (effects
    are strong enough)

Graham, S. (2005). Criteria for evidence-based
practice in special education special issue.
Exceptional Children, 71.
Exceptional Children (2005) volume 71(2)
  • Group Experimental and Quasi-Experimental
    Research (Gersten, Fuchs, Comptom, Coyne,
    Greenwood, Innocenti)
  • Single-Subject Research (Horner, Carr, Halle,
    McGee, Odom, Wolery)
  • Correlational Research (Thompson, Diamond,
    McWilliam, Snyder, Snyder)
  • Qualitative Studies (Brantlinger, Jimenez,
    Klingner, Pugach, Richardson)

Quality Indicators (QIs) for Experimental (and
Quasi-Experimental) Research
  • Describing Participants
  • Sufficient information about participants and
    interventionists, selection procedures as well as
    comparability across conditions
  • Implementation of Intervention and Description of
    Comparison Conditions
  • Clear description of intervention (and comparison
    conditions) with implementation fidelity assessed
  • Outcome Measures
  • Use of multiple measures at appropriate times
  • Data Analysis
  • Analysis techniques appropriate to questions and
    unit of analysis with effect size calculated

Sampling Strategies
  • Probability-Based
  • Non-probability Based
  • Examples???

Random vs Non-random sampling
Random Non-Random Sampling (Purposive)
All have equal chance independent chance Chosen based on criteria
Selects a representative of population No Equal chance
Should be large and random Some have no chance at all
No bias Some types show biases
Nonprobability Sampling
  • Convenience
  • Judgmental
  • Quota
  • Snowball
  • https//
  • https//

Random Sampling Methods
  • Simple Random Sampling
  • Stratified Random Sampling
  • Cluster Random Sampling
  • Two-stage Random Sampling

Simple Random Sampling
  • Each individual has equal independence chance
    of selection
  • The larger the sample the more it represents the
  • Any differences is not due to bias
  • https//

Stratified Random Sampling
  • Certain strata selected
  • Sample in same proportion as they exit in the
  • Increases the likelihood of representativeness
  • https//

Cluster Random Sampling
  • Ideal to include certain groups/cluster
  • However at times it is not possible to select
    individual due to time, effort
  • Select individuals based on (not individuals)
  • Groups
  • Clusters
  • Subjects
  • Ex All 5th Graders in Selected Schools (cluster)
    in Portland.
  • https//

Two-Stage Random Sampling
  • Combination of Cluster Individual Random
  • First select clusters randomly
  • Then select students randomly from clusters
  • https//
  • https//

Statistics, statistics
Descriptive Statistics
Inferential Statistics
Who is in your data?
What your sample says about the population
Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Variance
Tests of significance (t-, F-Tests)
Tests of Significance
  • Statistical analyses to determine whether a
    difference is statistically significant
    (probability for result to occur by chance).
  • Yes or No answer
  • Alpha level (p)
  • An established probability level which serves as
    the criterion to determine whether to accept or
    reject the null hypothesis
  • Common levels in education
  • .01
  • .05
  • .10

Objectives 4.1 6.1
Statistics, statistics
Descriptive Statistics
Inferential Statistics
Who is in your data?
What your sample says about the population
Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Variance
Tests of significance (t-, F-Tests)
Inferential Statistics
  • T tests- used when have two groups to compare.
  • Independent samples t- if groups are independent
  • Different people in each group
  • Dependent samples t- if two sets of scores are
    available for the same people (e.g., pre and
    post-tests of same group)
  • Matched groups
  • ANOVA (analysis of variance)- when you have more
    than 2 groups to compare OR more than one
    independent variable (reports an F-statistic,
    which is basically a t-value squared)
  • ANCOVA (analysis of covariance)- ANOVA that
    allows for control of the influence of an IV
    (e.g., characteristics of people) that may vary
    between your groups before treatment is
  • Post-hoc method for matching groups on variables
    such as age, prior education, SES, or a measure
    of performance

Effect Size
  • Way of quantifying the difference between two
  • Not just was there an effect, but the magnitude
    of the effect.
  • Many ways to calculate
  • ES Mean of experimental group Mean of
    control group/Standard Deviation
  • R-squared, Cohens-D
  • Standard deviation is how well the mean
    summarizes the data

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Visible Learningby John Hattie
  • Over 800 Meta-analyses
  • https//

Article Review Use questions as your guide
  • Implications for your practice- why you selected
    the article
  • Introduction- what was the aim of the article,
    what were the specific research questions
  • Methods- Describe
  • Participants
  • Setting of study
  • Target behaviors- dependent variables
  • How they measured the dependent variables
  • Materials used
  • Intervention procedures used- specify
  • Were the procedures replicable?

Article Review more questions
  • Methods used for treatment integrity
  • This asks how well does the author measure the
    implementation of the intervention
  • What was the design?
  • Experimental, quasi-experimental, single-subject
    (specify what type of designmultiple baseline,
  • Results- give quantifiable information of how the
    intervention worked
  • Discussion- issues discussed, limitations?
  • Conclusion- did they answer the research
  • Reflection- commentary, questions

In-Class Activity
  • Get together with a partner.
  • Practice completing an article review for one of
    the articles you read this week.
  • Note the design of the study.

Proposal Assignment Group Work
  • A detailed explanation of the assignment is
    posted on the wiki
  • What should you be doing in your groups?
  • At this point you should have a topic and start
    coming up with your framework for your research
    project (based on literature).
  • Start to draft your conceptual framework,
    research questions identify your dependent and
    independent variables
  • You should walk away from your group time with a
    list of tasks to complete.

  • Socially Important Issue
  • 2. Conceptual Model/Hypothesis
  • 3. Research Question(s)
  • 4. Dependent Variable
  • 5. Dependent Variable Measure
  • 6. Independent Variable
  • 7. Independent Variable Measure
  • 8. Research Design

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