Pluralizing methodologies in the field of LD: From "what works" to what matters

Beth A. Ferri, Deborah Gallagher, David J. Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The field of learning disabilities (LD) has a complex and complicated history. Tensions over definitions, eligibility criteria, service delivery models, and best practices, as well as epistemological debates, have been a part of that history from its inception. Given our collective struggles, as well as the current realities facing the field, there could not be a more critical moment for a conversation about how it is that we go about knowing what we know. In this concluding essay, we consider how, by focusing so intently on what works, we, as a field, may inadvertently lose sight of what matters. In other words, contrary to the push for narrowing what counts as evidence or knowledge, we examine the potential value in opening up the field to a more diverse range of methods for students who struggle academically. We also challenge taken-for-granted assumptions in the push toward evidence- or research-based practice. Finally, we highlight several compelling themes that we take away from the contributors of this special double issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-231
Number of pages10
JournalLearning Disability Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Learning disabilities
  • Research methods
  • SBR
  • Scientifically based research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Health Professions
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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