Conceptual diversities and empirical shortcomings - a critical analysis of research on inclusive education
2014 (English)In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 29, no 3, 265-280 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The purpose of this paper is to critically analyse research about inclusive education.Prior reviews and the outcome of a recent search of databases are analysedwith regard to (a) how inclusion is defined and (b) what empirical knowledgethere is regarding factors that make schools and classrooms more inclusive. Ourpoint of departure is that we regard inclusion as an idea about what school systems,schools and classrooms should accomplish, and as such, an expression ofan educational philosophy. Four different understandings of inclusive educationwere found: (a) inclusion as the placement of pupils with disabilities in mainstreamclassrooms, (b) inclusion as meeting the social/academic needs of pupilswith disabilities, (c) inclusion as meeting the social/academic needs of all pupilsand (d) inclusion as creation of communities. Under a strict definition of inclusiveeducation, hardly any research was found which reliably identified factorsthat give rise to inclusive processes. The outcome of our analyses are discussedfrom the perspective that different understandings of inclusion should be seen, toa large extent, as expressions of different views of what schools should accomplish.We also propose that some of the adherents to inclusion as creation ofcommunities can be placed in the grand educational tradition reaching back toDewey that tries to establish new ideals for school systems in a society in whichindividualism is perhaps the main ideology. The main conclusions are that theoperative meaning of inclusion in reviews and empirical research should bemuch more clearly defined and that new types of studies are needed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2014. Vol. 29, no 3, 265-280 p.
inclusive education; special needs; research review; conceptual analysis
Research subject Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-40922DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2014.933545ISI: 000343601200001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-40922DiVA: diva2:913641