Professor Bryan Cook and Associate Professor Lysandra Cook, in the UH Mānoa College of Education (COE) Department of Special Education, were awarded the Kirk Award by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Learning Disabilities (CEC-DLD). Their work, “Research Designs and Special Education Research: Different Designs Address Different Questions,” was selected as the best practitioner article published in Learning Disabilities Research & Practice (LDRP) during the 2016 volume year.

Both of the Cooks have been with the COE since 2005, specializing in evidence-based practices, high incidence disabilities, inclusion, and teacher preparation. The aim of their article is to provide practitioners and other nonresearchers a basic understanding of research designs to aid in appropriately interpreting and applying research findings in special education.

“We have been concerned about the gap between research and practice in education for some time, especially its implications for the quality of instruction provided to learners with disabilities,” Bryan explained. “One approach for bridging the research-to-practice gap is to provide educators with tools to be more informed and critical consumers of research. This article is the first in a series we are authoring for LDRP aimed at enhancing educators’ understanding of foundational concepts in educational research.”

The Cooks will be recognized on April 19, 2017 for their achievement and contribution to the field by the DLD at the Council for Exceptional Children’s Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts where they will receive a plaque and small monetary prize. Named after Samuel A. Kirk, one of the nation’s foremost leaders in special education, the Kirk Award is overseen by DLD’s Publications Committee and is given occasionally in recognition of excellence in professional journal articles that have been published in LDRP.

“We are very honored to receive this award and hope that the article will contribute in some small way to improving the quality of instruction provided to learners with disabilities,” Lysandra concluded.

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