Article Review Assignment: Critical Evaluation Of Research Article
Choose one scholarly, primary research article in the area of your interred from a peer-reviewed academic journal. Primary research means that the authors report on their own original research including their research aims, participants, methods of data collection and the findings. For the article you will need to write a report on article review assignment critically evaluating the article which should include the following:
- Introduction of the article
- evaluation of the design
- Evaluate the methodological decisions
- Do you agree with the interpretation of the results? Why or why not? Do they fit with the methodological decisions made?
- Has the article discussed the results using other research for support? Do you agree with the implications and limitations of the study? Why or why not?
A Critical Review of a Research Article
This article review assignment critically reviews the article by Kurth et al. (2019) titled "Parent Perspectives on Special Education Services: How Do Schools Implement Team Decisions?” Providing proper public education to special needs students is an intricate process that necessitates a combined effort among all involved, including the educational team, school personnel, and parents. Since parents know the strengths, support needs, and preferences of their children, they are well suited for the discussion and selection, in partnership with school personnel, the most successful practices to be utilized in their children's education. The authors took a qualitative approach in examining the experiences and perspectives of parents in their collaboration and interaction with school personnel in obtaining services for their children with special needs.
The Gap in the Current Research Literature
According to Kurth et al. (2019), regardless of court rulings and legislation mandating the involvement of parents in Individualized Education Program (IEP), they still face serious challenges discussing with school teams about obtaining services for their disabled children. These services include specified instructions with modifications and adjustments and direct assistance services from associated service providers like teaching assistants or speech-language pathologists. Notably, parents have described circumstances where they have experienced challenges expressing concerns to academic institution personnel and asking for services for their disabled children. These findings are similar to those by Elbaum and peers carried out in 2016, who found that school personnel was neither responsive to the ideas nor open to concerns of parents and guardians of children with developmental issues in the planning processes for their children's education. Parents describe the individualized education program as burdened with challenges, stating that educators provide them with assessment data, recommend them goals, and leave little room for their response, contribution, or discussion. There is a gap in the exploration of parents' perspectives on special needs education, including the changes that need to be made to the IPE process to make it inclusive of all the opinions of involved stakeholders.
Apart from difficulties experienced in discussions and reaching an agreement with academic institution personnel on services and placement, Kurth et al. (2019) found that parents often report the inconsistent implementation of IEP services. According to them, complaints regarding the content of the individualized education program typically revolve around a lack of goal clarity, and missing components, lack of services from associated providers of services.
They further include parents' complaints on the lack of their input or participation in the decision making process concerning service delivery. These findings are similar to those of White (2014) who examined the nature and result of complaints by parents of children with disabilities. The majorly cited issues in their study were associated with implementing the IEP content. These parents described institutions' failure to enforce special education services due to educators' lack of training and knowledge, documenting concerns regarding the qualifications of working with their children. The findings suggest parents' dissatisfaction with implementing the services documented in their children's individualized education program. There is a gap in the detailed exploration of parents' perspectives on the extent to which IPE has been implemented as designed and the reasons for institutions' lack of implementation.
Literature has documented positive collaborations between academic institutions and parents and the factors contributing to these associations. Kurth et al. (2019) state that parents are critical to the planning and execution processes and decisions in special education and associated services for disabled students as members of the individualized education program team. In a study by Francis et al. (2016), parents valued being treated as equal partners in planning special education services for their children, appreciating when school teams sought their input. The parents emphasized the significance of educators listening to them and respecting their concerns. They stated that a positive relationship resulted in positive experiences with the individualized education program. Parents are interested in having input in IEP development. It is critical for academic institutions to welcome their inputs, not only because they are obligated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act but also as a collaborative best practice.
The Aims and Research Questions
Kurth et al. (2019) had two primary aims. First was the apprehension of parents' perspectives on special education services, comprising the extent to which decisions on special education were implemented. The second was an apprehension of how parents explained why schools did or did not implement IEP elements. Two research questions guided the study's focus. The first question examined the extent to which parents believed schools implemented services, placements, and goals jointly agreed upon. The second question looked at how parents explained why schools implemented or failed to implement the agreed-upon IEP elements. The research aims and questions were appropriate for determining the potential future directions for practice and policy supporting the interactions between school administrators and parents. It explored the experiences and perspectives of parents concerning their associations with school personnel.
The research paradigm employed in the article is qualitative and interpretive in nature, concerned with an apprehension of the subject under study from the subjective experiences of individuals. Considering the nature of the phenomenon under study, that is, parents' perspectives on Special Education Services, a qualitative research paradigm was the most suited approach Hennink et al., (2020). The study aims to get an apprehension of parents' perspectives on special education services and understand how parents explained reasons for the failure of IEP implementation. The study's aims and research questions are consistent with the qualitative research paradigm that involves exploratory research in the areas of knowledge that still requires further research, descriptive analysis, and inductive process reasoning from the parents' perspectives on special education of children, and lastly seeking to understand through a design that promotes emergent questions and issues (Sigstad & Garrels, 2017).
Kurth et al. (2019) aimed to understand parents' perspectives on special education services and explore the reasons parents gave for the failure of IEP implementation. Research questions examined the extent to which parents believed schools implemented services, placements, and goals jointly agreed upon. They further examined how parents explained the reasons schools implemented or failed to implement the agreed-upon IEP elements. The researchers adopted a narrative research design in exploring the perspectives of parents on Special Education Services. This type of design identifies a phenomenon and focuses on the subjective experience and apprehension of the structure of the lived experiences. The study design is based on two data collection instruments and they are focus group and interview. The research design aimed to gather the perspectives of the participants’ means the parents related to the education services for children. The research design matches the expectancy of the research aim as the aim of the research is to examine the perspectives of parents about special education and its impact on the education of the child. The questionnaire of focus group and interview are same and they are based on the aim of the research, which helps to gather relevant information.
A narrative research design was the most appropriate for exploring the research aim and answering the research questions because this design answers questions on experience, perspective, and meaning, usually from participants' viewpoints. Parents narrated life stories of their children and significant issues based on their understanding and experiences with their children at home that need to be considered in schools. Encouraging parents to describe their experiences is part of the data gathering method in this narrative design. For instance, parents shared the behaviors of their children at home; some children are aggressive while others are calm and kind; they also stated that they deal with aggressiveness in their children by calming them down and assigning them constructive activities such as cleaning the compound whereby in the process the children feel relieved and calm because they engage their minds in that particular activity.
Study's Data Collection Methods
The research article by Kurth et al. (2019) used interviews (individual interviews and focus group – open-ended questions) in gathering the perspectives of parents on the provision of special education for their disabled children. The participants of the study are the parents of children who are having developmental disability or intellectual disability. 18 guradians and parents are selected as participants. Kurth et al. (2019) utilized the semi-structured interviewing technique coupled with follow-up questions. Individual interviews and focus group discussions were appropriate for collecting data regarding parents' perspectives on special education services. This is because the methods helped explore respondents' experiences and viewpoints, providing detailed information on the research questions.
The potential strengths of qualitative interviews in research exist in three major areas: the relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee, the interview itself, and the systematic element of the interview process. According to Hennink et al. (2020), the relatively close association between the interviewer and respondent developed in the interview technique potentially enhances data credibility by reducing response bias. They are further able to communicate information from their perspectives and in their own words. Also noteworthy is that interviewers can observe respondents beyond their oral reporting, for instance, the body language of a respondent, and even their choice of location and time for an interview, give interviewers essential data. However, qualitative interviews are dependent on the honest and accurate recalling of respondents regarding their experiences, viewpoints, and behaviors, and are prone to bias, and are further time-consuming and costly (Sigstad & Garrels, 2017).
Focus group is a time- efficient tool to collect data, allows face-to-face interaction and allows the researcher to gather immediate response. In this context, the focus groups is an effective tool to collect data as it helps researchers to focus on the expressions of the participants and reliability of the data. The key disadvantage of focus group is small group means not a good representation of large population. In the article, focus groups are based on 2 and 3 participants in each group, which means small groups are conducted for data collection. Hence, it may not be a good representation of large population. Another limitation of focus group is the respondent may feel peer pressure to answer similar, which may lead the study to different outcomes. The data collection method and procedure of data collection is described adequately in different sections. The procedure, instruments used the time of data collection.
Ethical Considerations Methods
The researchers obtained informed consent from their respondents before the interviews and briefly going through the consent together before the individual interviews or focus group. The consents helped clarify the study's nature, the potential role of the participants, research objective, publication and utilization of research, and the researchers’ identity. The association established between researchers and respondents in qualitative research interviews raises several ethical concerns like avoidance of misinterpretation, development of open and honest relations, and respect for privacy. Informed consent, confidentiality, and anonymity are significant ethical concerns that have to be considered in a qualitative interview (Hintz & Dean, 2019).
In the first theme, parents described experiences that even though they effectively contributed to the decision-making process for their children's special education services and goals, the processes were complicated and challenging. Other parents described the burdens they underwent trying to get involved in the decision-making process, stating that they were eventually unsuccessful and, as such, failed in the attainment of desired outcomes (Kurth et al., 2019). In the second theme, parents described mixed experiences regarding special needs education services for their children. Some spoke highly of the implementation process, while others expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of service. In the third theme, among the reasons provided by parents for schools' failure to implement IEP included the general lack of training, experience, and knowledge of educators. They also had the fiscal positioning of school districts and systemic and philosophical barriers. The interpretation of the results is based on the collected data, so it matches the methodological decisions. The results are shown through three themes, which match the expectancy of the methodological design. However, the researchers could have focused more on investigating parents' experiences with disabled children on learning about techniques that successful school personnel has utilized to ensure a positive partnering experience for parents.
The article has discussed the research results using the support of previous studies. The discussion with the other studies helps to show the relevancy if the research results with the previous studies. The limitations and implications of the study are described in the article in detailed manner. In the case of implications, policy, practice and research, all the three factors are considered.
Elbaum, B., Blatz, E. T., & Rodriguez, R. J. (2016). Parents' experiences as predictors of state accountability measures of schools' facilitation of parent involvement. Remedial and Special Education, 37(1), 15-27.
Francis, G. L., Blue-Banning, M., Turnbull, A. P., Hill, C., Haines, S. J., & Gross, J. M. (2016). Culture is inclusive schools: Parental perspectives on trusting family-professional partnerships. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 281-293.
Hennink, M., Hutter, I., & Bailey, A. (2020). Qualitative research methods. Sage.
Hintz, E., & Dean, M. (2019). Best Practices for Returning Research Findings to Participants: Methodological and Ethical Considerations for Communication Researchers. Communication Methods And Measures, 14(1), 38-54. https://doi.org/10.1080/19312458.2019.1650165
Kurth, J. A., Zagona, A. L., Miller, A. L., & Love, H. (2019). Parent Perspectives on Special Education Services: How Do Schools Implement Team Decisions?
Sigstad, H., & Garrels, V. (2017). Facilitating qualitative research interviews for respondents with intellectual disability. European Journal Of Special Needs Education, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2017.1413802
White, S. E. (2014). Special education complaints filed by parents of students with autism spectrum disorders in the midwestern United States. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 29(2), 80-87.