Using the GCU Library, locate five scholarly articles on changes and/or reforms in special education during the past 100 years.
Review the Topic 3 Lecture for a description of what is considered a scholarly article.
In a 750-1,000-word essay, compare and contrast the three most significant positive and negative changes in special education. Discuss the changes/reforms you think still need to be made.
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
This assignment uses a rubric. Review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin.
EDU-535 Lecture 3
Learning How to Research
In Topic 1, you learned about the importance of scholarship and a little about what it takes to transition from student to scholar. In this Topic, you will learn about the heart of scholarship: Research. Learning how to research is critical to your transition from student to scholar, because it is a significant component of how you master the knowledge in your field, which will in turn equip you to contribute to the improvement of practice in your field. Review the learning objectives for this Topic within the course syllabus and use the following lecture, which is about the role of research in scholarship, to accomplish them.
What Do We Mean by Research?
You may have used the term research in many different scenarios and settings. You may have had to research locations of companies offering a particular service you needed, or maybe you had to research different schools before deciding to enroll at GCU. The term research is often used loosely in informal settings to mean, as illustrated in the previous examples,the search for information−but what does research mean in an academic setting? What does research mean in graduate study? What does research mean to the aspiring scholar wishing to improve the field in which they work?
According to The Free Dictionary, researchis defined as “scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry.” A Google search defines research as “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.” The first definition uses the term scholarly, which, as you learned in Topic 1, refers to a “learned person” who more than likely has mastered a particular discipline. The second definition mentions “the study of materials and sources.” This could include people, theories, concepts, studies, and a variety of other sources. Both definitions mention “systematic or scientific investigation,” which means an orderly and logical process that is carried out in the act of research. Analyzing both definitions should provide you with a better understanding of what research means in an academic setting, and to your ability to advance in your field by contributing to its improvement.
What Am I Researching For, Again?
Throughout your graduate study, you will learn to distinguish between two types of published knowledge−scientific and professional−and become familiar with sources that specialize in each type of knowledge. Mastering both the scientific and professional knowledge in your field is the first step in making the transition from student to scholar.
Scientific and Professional Knowledge
Scientific knowledge is information or data that has been scientifically tested to be applicable under specified circumstances and constitutes the most reliable source for solving problems and making decisions. Professional knowledge is, typically, information or data gained by practitioners or organizations and published because the knowledge was believed to be applicable and useful to other practitioners or organizations within the same field. Ultimately, the application of both types of knowledge to your chosen field is the hallmark of scholarship.
Main Sources of Scientific and Professional Knowledge
Scientific knowledge is disseminated primarily through peer-reviewed scientific journals, also called academic or research journals. Each field has its own recognized scientific journals, where the most prestigious authors prefer to publish. Submissions to such journals are selected for publications through a blind review process based on systematic criteria that are public domain.
Another source of scientific knowledge are academic publishers that specialize in textbooks, collective volumes edited by prestigious experts (often senior graduate faculty with substantial research and publication experience), and treatises on major topics authored by the top experts in the field. All major publishers have their manuscripts reviewed by prestigious experts in their field.
A third source of scientific knowledge includes papers presented at academic conferences. Like journal articles, conference papers are selected through a peer-review process. The difference between the peer-review systems of academic journals and academic conferences is that the former has a relatively stable and prestigious review team that ensures consistency across time and enforces agreed-upon high standards, whereas the latter relies on scarce, occasional volunteers who pick the targeted number of best available papers out of the pool of submissions. Consequently, there is no guarantee about the scientific quality of conference papers. This explains why conferences have become springboards or first stops for researchers whose final destination is an academic journal. The conference reviewers’ feedback and the questions asked during the discussion following the presentation of a paper are used by authors to prepare their articles for submission to the appropriate journals.
A fourth source of scientific information includes theses and dissertations, which most often rely entirely on scientific sources. The research findings they present have to be scrutinized very carefully for limitations and possible flaws, because the only scholarly reviewers of each thesis or dissertation are the members of the author’s committee. The quality of the knowledge contained within a thesis or dissertation depends not only on the pooled expertise of committee members, but also on the quality standards of the university that granted the degree. Considering the variability of standards across universities, the findings of graduate research presented in theses and dissertations ought to be used with great caution.
In addition to the layered sources of scientific knowledge, each field has a growing amount of sources of professional knowledge, which disseminates that knowledge in a variety of formats and, generally, has fewer requirements and a more flexible selection criterion. The preferred format is the professional journal. Authors’ access to professional publications is governed by factors such as the prestige of the author and/or the organizations they represent, the urgency and importance of the issue to the target audience, the scope and dollar value of potential practical applications of information contained in the material, and the engaging quality of the material (e.g., comprehensibility, human interest, entertainment). Scientific quality rarely comes into play as a selection criterion.
So What Does All of This Mean to Me?
As a graduate student, you will use scientific and professional knowledge you gain through research in academic and professional journals to:
· Support your communication efforts (writing assignments, discussion question responses, etc.) to express your understanding and achievement of course learning objectives
· Demonstrate mastery of knowledge in your field
To successfully research academic and professional journals, you must learn to navigate the GCU Library. Access to the GCU Library is found under the “Resources” tab within your LoudCloud classroom. For more information on how to successfully navigate the GCU Library, complete the “Library Walk Through” tutorial.
Review the resources posted by the Library for your program.
Conduct a keyword search using one of the Library databases or ask a librarian for assistance.
When you locate a relevant and appropriate resource, an effective way to locate additional resources is to look in the resource section of the resource you found. There, you will find references the author used to support their writing. You may ask, “How do I know if the resource is an appropriate source for use in my writing?” Visit the Cornell University Library for a review of how to critically analyze information sources. Also, complete the “Evaluating Websites” tutorial, located in the GCU Library.