The Production of Inclusive Education Research: A Double Bind?

Catriona Louise De Bruin, Julianne Moss, Joanne Marie Deppeler, Roger Slee, Ben Whitburn

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The field of inclusive education (IE) stammers when its research perspectives are scrutinised. Research in IE for least two decades, could be critiqued as resisting the opening, transgressions and struggles that have been occurring in educational research more widely. The paper presents an overview of recent research that crosses the boundaries of research paradigms, theorises exclusion/ inclusion (Slee, 2011) and is working to claim a research agenda that works with cultural shifts, mediated multi-vocality, including "empowerment, voice and reflexive collaborations", (Lather, 2010, p.69) but remains focused on social and educational change (Deppeler & Huggins, 2010). Within IE a double bind hovers over the field and 'an examination of equity as a consequence of technical processes and practices.a research paradigm that also documents the very production of inequity" (Artilles, 2011, p. 443) persists. The paper demonstrates how these issues are being shaped through ongoing research agendas in IE and alerts the field to these continuing issues. The dominant researcher, preoccupied with, for example the intervention goals and procedures will disempower voiceless subjects. Scholarship from those on the 'inside' offers differing perspectives and positioning. Alternative hermeneutic conceptualisation and methodologies generate a context-bound subjectivity that produces research that some might want to dismiss or overturn. The reality of educational inclusion experienced by those on the inside highlight the gulf, the divide and suggestions of a normalising view that hinders a deeper engagement with issue of research, voice and methodological decisions, which ultimately the researcher communicates and puts the new theory to work in research or practice. The co-authored paper makes the case for differing methodological approaches in IE. Arguably, avoiding a double bind requires coherent research agendas that address the complexities of educational equity and collaboration, crossing professional, spatial and geographic contexts. Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used The paper describes three recent research projects, each grounded in differing methodological approaches that aim to understand and transcend the limitations of IE research. The three projects foreground: firstly, a theoretical model grounded in the data to present students' voices to the inclusion debate; secondly, participatory research collaboration in two education system reform projects and finally Keeping Connected (Yates et al., 2010), a large project that centrally is developed by young people's perspectives, their identity and wellbeing, relationships with others and engagement within changing contexts and their altered opportunities in the world as they live with chronic illness. Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or Findings The paper provides the opportunity for researchers working on a range of issues to share their methodological insights and substantive findings and grapple with the urgent need to produce research that is designed beyond the double bind, gets done, heard and used in a timely manner. References Artiles, A., (2011). Toward and interdisciplinary understanding of educational equity and difference: the case of the racialization of ability. Educational Researcher , 40(9),431-445. Deppeler, J. M. & Huggins, D. F. (2010). Collaboration and Equitable Reform in Australian Schools: Beyond the Rhetoric, in Judith J Slater & Ruth Ravid (Eds).Collaboration in Education, Routledge, New York, pp. 126-133. Lather, P., (2010). Engaging Science Policy: from the side of the messy. New York: Peter Lang. Slee, R. The Irregular School: Exclusion, Schooling and Inclusive Education, Routledge, Oxon and New York. Yates, L., Bond, L., Dixon, M., Drew, S., Ferguson, P., Hay, T., Moss, J., St Leger, P., Walker, H. and White, J. (2010). Keeping Connected: Identity, Social Connection and Education for Young People Living with Chronic Illness. The University of Melbourne. Report of ARC Linkage Project 2007-2009.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEuropean Conference on Educational Research 2012 - Cadiz, Spain
Duration: 18 Sep 201221 Sep 2012


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Educational Research 2012
Abbreviated titleECER 2012

Cite this

De Bruin, C. L., Moss, J., Deppeler, J. M., Slee, R., & Whitburn, B. (2012). The Production of Inclusive Education Research: A Double Bind?. Abstract from European Conference on Educational Research 2012, Cadiz, Spain.