4th February 2005 at 00:00
Researching Learning Difficulties: A guide for practitioners. By Jill Porter and Penny Lacey. Paul Chapman Publishing. pound;19.99

This is a useful book with a less than useful subtitle. A guide for practitioners implies something altogether more practical and practitioner oriented. But, as an academic, I found this book stimulating and would recommend it to colleagues and doctoral students.

The authors provide a great variety of interesting studies, and their description and discussion of it make this an excellent resource; the reference list on its own means the book will be placed on one of my most accessible bookshelves.

I have some reservations about the way the book's claims are built around literature or journal reviews written for the book. While the methods are transparent, they do affect the results, and other journals and sources would have led to a different picture.

Nonetheless, the authors do not shy away from the big questions, and all those posed are highly pertinent. For example, they stress asking how or why something works (rather than just, does it work?) and how formative research can play a greater role.

This book is comprehensive and promotes good research processes - rather than the quick fix of good results.

Melanie Nind

Reader in education, University of Southampton

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