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The Social Exclusion of Schoolmates with Learning and Intellectual Disabilities: A Concept Mapping Approach

By: & Published: 2015 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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In 2014, we published a concept mapping study on the social exclusion of children with learning and intellectual disabilities at school. Our study had two goals: to provide insight into why social exclusion was happening and to determine whether children could be participants in a concept mapping study. Concept mapping is a six-step mixed-methods approach which asks participants to take on the roles of interviewees and of data analysts who sort the interview data into self-determined categories. Combining the rich data that can be obtained through interviewing participants with the rigours of statistical analysis, concept mapping has been used primarily with adults; few concept mapping studies have been conducted with children. This case study provides an account of our study from the inception of our research idea to its completion. We discuss our concerns about using concept mapping with children. The case reveals the unique demands that concept mapping makes of participants and researchers, and how we dealt with several obstacles along the way. We discuss the benefits and challenges of conducting applied research in the schools, and how our approach provided insight into reasons behind social exclusion.

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