Research 101

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Alert! Alert! 
Because NICHCY’s website will only remain online until September 30, 2014, most of its rich content has moved to a new home, the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR), where it can be kept up to date. 

The new address of Research 101 at the CPIR is:


Updated August 2012 | Links updated, May 2013

Three blocks in a stack, A-B-C.

Want the ABCs of the research process?

Dr. Barbara Smith & Kyrie Dragoo

Table of Contents

There’s an ever-increasing emphasis on using research to make decisions regarding children with disabilities in all their aspects–best practices for educating them, raising them, training their teachers, and setting systems in place that run smoothly and accomplish results. But, unlike roses, research is not necessarily research is not always research, just because it claims to be research. There’s high-quality, well-designed, noteworthy research, and then…there’s research that may have serious flaws in its design, conclusions, or generalizability to other students or settings. How do you tell the difference? NICHCY’s Research Basics are intended to help you do just that.



The Research Process, Start to Finish

Types of research and their roles in improvement of practice.
From the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD).

Phases of research: Steps in gathering and evaluating evidence.
From the Cyberlab for Psychological Research.

Research methods: From question to conclusion.
From Annenberg/Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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What’s in a Research Paper?

The research paper.
From Trinity University.

What’s a research paper?
From Empire State College.

Understanding those medical & research articles.

Understanding a typical journal article.
From Cyberlab for Psychological Research.

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Is This a Good Research Paper?

Ingredients of good research.
From Great Schools.

Assessing the methodological quality of published papers.
Don’t be thrown by the screen you’ll see. Click on “register for free access” and do so.

Distinguishing scholarly journals from other periodicals.
From the Cornell University Library.

Understanding research studies in the news.
A blog from NICHCY’s research analyst.

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How Do the Pros Define Quality?

Quality standards.
From the RAND Corporation.

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Writing Research Reports

The research paper.
From Trinity University.

How to write an A+ research paper.
From a Research Guide for Students.

APA Format.
From Cyberlab for Psychological Research.

Communicating educational research data to general, nonresearcher audiences.
From the journal Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, 6(7).

Effective reporting (Resources in Institutional Research, Number 12).
From the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), ED 443 315.

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How Teachers Can Use Research

How teachers can use scientifically based research to make curricular & instructional decisions.

Understanding the relationship between research and teaching.
A position statement.

How teachers in elementary school can use research.

How science teachers can use research evidence.

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Would you like to visit another page in NICHCY’s series of Research Basics?

If so, use the links below to jump right there.

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to