Research Priority Setting with Parents of Students with Learning Exceptionalities and Disabilities

For which topic were research priorities identified?

learning exceptionalities and disabilities of students

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

North America - Canada

Why was it conducted at all?

With an increasing focus on knowledge mobilisation, there is a concomitant shift in how stakeholders, such as parents, ought to be engaged in the research process. Parents of students with learning exceptionalities and disabilities (also referred to as ‘special education needs’) are common participants in research about inclusive education. This is not surprising given the central role of parents in their children’s education.

What was the objective?

to explore the research priorities of parents of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students with learning exceptionalities and disabilities in British Columbia, Canada, in order to inform a research agenda related to inclusive education

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 8 research questions

How long did the research prioritization take?

May 2018 - October 2018

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: A web-based survey was administered: In the first section, respondents were asked to rank eight specific research questions. In the second section of the survey, parents identified which of the 12 special needs designations that are tracked by the Ministry of Education they would be most interested in exploring in relation to the variables in Section 1 of the survey. The third section of the survey was an open-ended response question: "What other research questions, if any, do you think we should study related to educational trajectories of students with special needs and disabilities?" The fourth section focused on post-secondary transitions and asked: "Are you interested in research about the transition from high school to post-secondary school for students with special needs and/or disabilities?" and, if so, "Are there any comments you would like to share in regard to students with special needs and/or disabilities and their transitions from high school to post-secondary school?"

Which stakeholders took part?

130 parents

How were stakeholders recruited?

A convenience sample of parents of students with learning exceptionalities and disabilities was recruited. A variety of recruitment strategies were employed, primarily leveraging existing social media platforms used by parents. A link to the survey was posted using our research lab’s Twitter handle, which allowed other individuals and groups to share the survey information. The project team also posted a link to the survey on a study-specific website. As well, the project team conducted a media interview to raise awareness of the study.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.