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Confirmation of Candidature – PhD – October 26

Najwa Bakr Mursi

Perceptions of Evidence and Evidence Based Practices among Teachers of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Saudi Arabia


Teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents a considerable challenge for special education teachers in classrooms. This is due the heterogeneity of students who have this disorder, and its association with other disabilities and/or medical conditions. This diversity requires teachers to develop knowledge about the particular characteristics of individual students with ASD, and the kinds of teaching practices proven to be effective in supporting their learning. In the context of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), identifying effective practices is challenging. This is due the scarcity of research in the KSA about EBP, and the recency of policy requiring teachers to use evidence-based practices. For these reasons, it is critical to investigate how teachers perceive evidence and EBP, and how those perceptions inform their decisions about teaching students with ASD. The aim of this study is to explore the perceptions about evidence and EBP among teachers of students with ASD. It will examine how decisions about effective practices are made by special education teachers in one autism centre in the KSA. The theoretical framework underpinning this study combines Shulman’s work on Teachers’ Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPCK), Evidence Based Practice and the educational needs of students with ASD. The nature of the topic and research questions require an in depth qualitative approach. Within this approach, this study adopts a case study design. Data will be collected using multiple methods which include: document collection, classroom observations, stimulated recall, interviews, and think-aloud. These data will be collected in six stages throughout one academic semester in the KSA. The data collected from documents will be analysed using content analysis, while the data collected from the observations, transcribed stimulated recall protocols, transcribed interviews, and transcribed think-aloud protocols will be analysed using an inductive thematic analysis. This study expects to contribute to the growing literature of EBP for students with ASD by understanding what evidence and EBP mean for teachers, and their decision making about EBP.

Panel: Professor Annemaree Carroll (Chair) & Associate Professor Katie Makar
Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Karen Moni
Associate Advisor/s: Associate Professor Christa van Kraayenoord
Date Wednesday 26 October 2016
Time 3.00pm to 5.00pm
Room 303
Location Social Science Building 24
St Lucia Campus