Ten Years of Research: A Systematic Review of Three Refereed LD Journals


Requests for reprints should be sent to Laura McFarland, The University of Texas at Austin. Electronic inquiries should be sent to laura.mcfarland@utexas.edu.


Content analyses of journals in the field of LD provide a means of surveying research and publication trends, the knowledge of which may inform policy and practice related to future research agendas. As the first decade of the current millennium was particularly contentious for the field of LD, we felt that a content review would be timely. In this paper, the content of three refereed LD journals—Journal of Learning Disabilities, Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, and Learning Disabilities Quarterly—was analyzed. Articles from 2001–2010 (n = 841) were systematically coded to capture article type, area of interest, population of interest, sample characteristics, and inclusion of students with LD. Results indicate that across the decade, (a) 68% of articles reported empirical research; (b) empirical research trended up; (c) publication of intervention research remained steady; (d) the most common foci were literacy and the non-academic characteristics of individuals with LD; and (e) inclusion of participants labeled as having a LD declined. We discuss trends, possible explanations, and implications, highlighting areas for future research.