MEd Educational Psychology
Student Registration Number: 440880
MD699 Research Issues in Psychology
Critical Review of a Research Article
Pupils who exhibit gifted characteristics along with another disability are referred to as twice-exceptional students' (Morrison, 2001; Nielsen 2002). This term is used in the article that I have chosen to review, which analyses the responses and perceptions through interview, of one particular individual (Andrew) who was identified as being gifted and talented (G/T) and who had emotional and behavioural disabilities (EBD). What the researchers aimed to accomplish through this analysis was a clearer understanding of Andrew's community and school experiences, as they stated that there was a lack of empirical data focusing upon pupils who displayed such behaviours.
The features of the research design were straightforward and simple: a qualitative analysis with one participant; a structured interview, recorded then later transcribed and analysed to produce 3 themes; a conclusion which produced findings of Andrew's experiences as a twice-exceptional student. It is the appropriateness of the methods that were used in this study which will inform my first critique of this article. I will then move on to discuss the data which was collected, before finally examining how effective the conclusion is.
Morrison and Omdal chose to include only one participant in their study, which compares quite significantly to the research of others in similar areas that have included a greater number of participants (Gross, 1994; Sankar-DeLeeuw, 2004; Howe et al, 1998). This particular participant, named under the pseudonym of Andrew, was 22 years of age when he consented to partake in the research. A brief description of his formidable successes both academic and socially, pointed out that he was currently employed as a permanent substitute teacher' (p.2). The reader is immediately drawn to a young man who has accomplished and triumphed against his disabilities'; instantly gaining the respect of the readers' as his successes show strength of character and determination. Surely then questions must arise about the validity of using such a small, select sample. Can the quality of data that has been gathered be representative of the population (Cohen et al 20002) of twice-exceptional students? It is my assumption that no, it cannot. Especially since the chosen participant is a teacher reflecting upon his educational experiences that occurred some years ago. The fact that he was in the teaching profession, immediately infers that there may be some bias in his reflections during the interview. Teaching, according to the Teacher's Training Agency, " is a job for those who like and respect young people" (2005). Andrew clearly from his responses, suffered during his schooling, and perhaps felt disrespected as a result of being labelled. His position as an educator a number of years later, enable him to look quite critically upon his educators, almost, one could argue with an expert eye.
As well as the questions which are raised about the size of the sample that was used, it is also necessary to point out the lack of detail present concerning how the sample was chosen. Andrew's reflective experiences several years after they occurred surely cannot be as valid as for example, a sample of children displaying twice-exceptional abilities within schools at the time of commencing the research. Perhaps Morrison and Omdal had valid reasons for choosing Andrew as their lone participant, but this detail is missing from their study. There is no evidence either to suggest whether Andrew was de-briefed about the nature of this study, which could prove significant with regard to his responses to the interview questions, especially as he talks with such fervour about his experiences.
Since they only had one participant for this research, an interview was an appropriate method to gain...