Reflections on a Research Career: One Thing Leads to Another

Article excerpt

One of the cherished myths of researchers is that policy and practice are driven by research. I suggest that we may have it backwards, as in many ways social needs and social policies drive research. An example is Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, which changed the face of special education in this country, indeed around the world. Public Law 94-142 did not come about because of substantive research evidence demanding reconsideration of the conditions and needs of exceptional individuals. Rather, it followed the legal battles of parents and advocates to ensure services, and the vision of special educators such as Edwin Martin who headed the then Bureau of Education for the Handicapped. Current examples are the major research efforts focused on instruction in reading, mathematics, and science, research which was stimulated primarily by national concern about the poor academic performance of American school children. This is not to suggest that social policy determines the content of research, but does infer that science is not independent of the larger social-political context.

Analogously, I suggest that the efforts of individual researchers are embedded in their life circumstances, a point shown clearly in autobiographical descriptions of life paths (Hoshmand, 1998). Life circumstances, including distal and proximal social and economic factors, provide both opportunities and constraints, and in part influence the content of research careers. My own research career is an example. Rather than a detailed discussion of my work, in this article I describe several research programs that occupied me over the years. Examples of publications from these projects are shown in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1

List of Illustrative Publications

Bernheimer, L. P., & Keogh, B. K. (1986). Developmental disabilities in preschool children. In B. K. Keogh (Ed.), Advances in special education, volume 1, Basic constructs and theoretical orientations (pp. 61-93). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.(*)

Gallimore, R., Keogh, B. K., Bernheimer, L. P. (1998, in press). The nature and long-term implications of early developmental delays: A summary of evidence from two longitudinal studies. In L. M. Glidden (Ed.), The international review of research in mental retardation. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.(*)

Keogh, B. K. (1965). The Bender Gestalt as a predictive and diagnostic test of reading performance. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 29, 83-84.

Keogh, B. K. (1971). Hyperactivity and learning disorders: Review and speculation. Exceptional Children, 38, 101-109.

Keogh, B. K. (1971). Pattern copying under three conditions of an expanded spatial field. Developmental Psychology, 4, 25-31.

Keogh, B. K. (1982). Children's temperament and teachers' decisions. In R. Porter & G. Collins (Eds.), Temperamental differences in infants and young children (pp. 269-279). CIBA Foundation, London: Pitman.(*)

Keogh, B. K. (1988). Learning disabilities: Diversity in search of order. In M. Wang, M. Reynolds, & H. Walberg (Eds.), The handbook of special education: Research and practice (pp. 225-251). Oxford, England: Pergamon Press.(*)

Keogh, B. K. (1994). What the special education research agenda should look like in the year 2000. Learning Disabilities, Research and Practice, 9, 62-69.

Keogh, B. K., Bernheimer, L. P., Gallimore, R., & Weisner, T. (1998). Child and family outcomes over time: A longitudinal perspective on developmental delays. In M. Lewis & C. Feiring (Eds.), Families, risk, and competence (pp. 269-288). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.(*)

Keogh, B. K., Gallimore, R., & Weisner, T. (1997). A sociocultural perspective on learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 12, 107-113.

Keogh, B. K., Major-Kingsley, S., Omori-Gordon, H., & Reid, H. P. …