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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 65–73 | Cite as

On Mosaics and Melting Pots: Conceptual Considerations of Comparison and Matching Strategies

  • Jacob A. Burack
  • Grace Iarocci
  • Tara D. Flanagan
  • Dermot M. Bowler
Article

Abstract

Conceptual and pragmatic issues relevant to the study of persons with autism are addressed within the context of comparison groups and matching strategies. We argue that no choice of comparison group or matching strategy is perfect, but rather needs to be determined by specific research objectives and theoretical questions. Thus, strategies can differ between studies in which the goal is to delineate developmental profiles and those in which the focus is the study of a specific aspect of functioning. We promote the notion of a “mosaic,” rather than a “melting pot,” approach to science in which researchers communicate conservative and precise interpretations of empirical findings.

Autism research comparison groups matching strategies methodology mosaic 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob A. Burack
    • 1
    • 2
  • Grace Iarocci
    • 3
  • Tara D. Flanagan
    • 1
  • Dermot M. Bowler
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Center for Cognitive Research on Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Hôpital Rivière des PrairiesQuébecCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyCity UniversityLondonUnited Kingdom EC1V 0HB

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