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Methods for research in professional educational psychology

MacKay, Tommy and Boyle, James and Cole, Rachel (2016) Methods for research in professional educational psychology. Educational and Child Psychology, 33 (3). pp. 6-10. ISSN 0267-1611

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It was almost 20 years ago that Educational and Child Psychology last had a special themed issue on the topic of research methodology (Lunt, 1998). Indeed, it was also the first time that this theme had been selected, a matter for which there was a very clear reason, namely, that a research orientation by the profession was at that time still at a very early stage of development. For this assertion there is abundant evidence, extending throughout the two decades preceding the special issue, from the time of Gillham’s (1978) Reconstructing Educational Psychology, which called for, and indeed was a major catalyst in promoting, a move from a preoccupation with individual assessment to wider systemic and strategic roles. At the start of that period, Wedell and Lambourne (1980), in a survey for the Division of Educational and Child Psychology (DECP), indicated that educational psychologists in England and Wales spent a very small fragment of their professional life engaged in research. At about the midway point, MacKay (1987) found a very low representation of work by educational psychologists in over 800 articles in five major journals of central relevance to the profession. At the end of the period in question Lindsay sought to carry out a partial replication of this finding and found no articles by practising educational psychologists published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology for the period 1993-97 (Lindsay, 1998).