Ethnicity and Special Education Research: Identifying Questions and Methods

Document Type


Publication Date



This article presents questions, offers ideas, and solicits input regarding hypotheses and methodologies needed to extend our understanding of the ethnic representation of students identified as having serious emotional disturbance (SED). Technical methods are discussed to ensure that estimates of the extent of disproportionate representation are accurate, technically defensible, and interpretable for purposes of further research and policy decisions. Research questions and analyses needed to produce a better conceptual understanding of why disproportionality occurs are explored. Societal issues are described that influence definitions, methods, and interpretations and will continue to influence capacity to respond to the problem of disproportionate ethnic representation of students with SED.