ProQuest

Expert Searching

Advertisements

de27948logo-aExpert Searching continues for resources concerning Inquiry Learning and neurodiversity. ProQuest is an education database boasting over 1,000 full-text journals and 18,000 dissertations. US-based, I am hopeful my searches on Inquiry Learning and considerations for neurodiversity will be more  fruitful than those conducted within A+ Education, given the sheer volume of research funded in Autism in spheres of education in North America.  I am also feeling positive about research involving more strengths-based approaches to education considering neurodiverse students or neurodiversity in general.  The term “neurodiversity” was first published in an article in The Atlantic Magazine in 1998 but only got a foothold in social and education research circles in the US in very recent times, thanks in no small part to last years’ New York times best-seller “Neurotribes” by Dan Silberman (2015).  After searching A+ Education, my current search questions are:

  1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of the Inquiry Learning Process for Neurodiverse Learners.
  2. How are Executive Function, Theory of Mind, Central Coherence and other cognitive skills and abilities either 1) required for, or 2) developed by Inquiry Learning?
  3. How do specific teacher and classroom practices enable or obstruct Inquiry Learning for Neurodiverse Learners?

So lets see what ProQuest delivers to this search.  In terms of user-friendliest, ProQuest provides an excellent visual guide and video to advanced searching – heads and shoulders above all search engines used in previous blogs.

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-6-25-08-am
Figure 1: Advanced Search hints in ProQuest screen shot

My search string terms strands have steadily increased over my Expert Search process which is really a reflection of not being able to find enough resources to answer my questions posed – I am literally grasping at more straws.  In the back of my mind I know that my questions sit in emerging research fields and I am looking for articles that point to a new research field.  My search strings resemble this heavy laden vertical tree diagram:

search-string-terms-vertical-tree-proquest-final-grey
Figure 2: Vertical dendrogram of all search terms employed grouped by domain. Image by site author CC by 2.0

Search #1

For this group of search strings, I am focussed on cognitive skills and abilities and social constructs of neurodiversity, and find some relevant sources although still low numbers of results.  I noticed “Theory of Mind” is continually in the background, even though I am not searching for it.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-8-26-15-pm
Figure 3: Advanced search within ProQuest

Search #2

The chance discovery of an article during a structured search using my terms and strings unearthed a poignant aspect of my re-search into Inquiry Learning and Neurodiversity. The search string was simply “autism” AND “discovery learning”… and the discovery for me was the value of student agency in the Inquiry Learning Process.  Self-advocacy is a very topical subject in “autism” circles at the moment, from the rights of special needs students to direct their own learning as other students are able, all the way up to neurodivergent people being mandatory on Boards of organisations defending neurodiversity rights.  This is an interesting cultural perspective that I am afraid cannot be explored here due to time constraints, but it definitely deserves noting.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-6-18-58-pm

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-6-31-41-pm
Figure 4: Simple search within ProQuest

Summary

ProQuest is the last of the research-based education databases I will search before moving to expert searching in social media.  The distinct lack of research specific to Inquiry Learning and considerations for neurodiverse learners has reminded me that this is perhaps not an area deemed important enough to warrant academic research just yet, and educators may need still need to be incentivised to make accommodations for neurodiverse learning throughout the Inquiry Learning Process.  But what is the incentive? Rolling out an Inquiry Learning pedagogy is certainly a big undertaking, but tailoring it to individual students would be a daunting prospect for many educators.

As I head into Social Media expert searching, my research questions remain:

  1. What are the advantages amd/or disadvantages of the Inquiry Learning Process for Neurodiverse Learners?
  2. How are Executive Function, Theory of Mind, Central Coherence and other cognitive skills and abilities either 1) required for, or 2) developed by Inquiry Learning?
  3. How do specific teacher and classroom practices enable or obstruct Inquiry Learning for Neurodiverse Learners?

Mapping the Journey

overall-il-journey-milestones-5
Figure 5: Inquiry Process and Information Search Process. Image by site author CC by 2.0

References:

Andreiuc88 (Photographer). (n.d.). Man Walking Through a Fairytale Forest [photograph], Retrieved August 20, 2016, from http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-102692894.html?src=download_history

Audet, R. and L. Jordan (2008) Integrating inquiry across the curriculum. Heatherton, VIC: Hawker Brownlow. p. 14

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services, 2nd edition, Libraries Unlimited, Westport, CT.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s