Evidence-based practice in autism educational research: can we bridge the research and practice gap?

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Colleges, School and Institutes


In order to develop deeper and better understandings of what constitutes effective educational practices, and to bridge the gap between research and practice, there is a need for a paradigm shift in autism educational research. The contribution of this paper is to examine the key methodological challenges that stand in the way of autism educational research impacting on practice. This research field is dominated by experimental research designs that evaluate the impact of ‘interventions’ that focus on developing the skills, knowledge, and understanding of pupils with autism. For educational research to have an impact on the lives of individuals with autism, their families, and the practitioners who work with them, movement towards a more balanced range of methodologies is needed. This needs to include methodologies that situate the knowledge base of practitioners on a par with the knowledge base of researchers, drawing on the evidence base from the classroom itself, and bringing in the perspectives and views of individuals with autism, their families, and the practitioners who work with them.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-161
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number2
Early online date28 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2016


  • Evidence-based practice, autism educational research, autism intervention research, bridging research and practice