NCDDR and Campbell Collaboration Announce the Formation of Disability Subgroup

July 22, 2008
Austin, Texas

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556

Photo of John  Westbrook
John Westbrook, director of NCDDR and co-chair for the new Campbell Collaboration disability sub-group.
The National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR) at SEDL has worked with the Campbell Collaboration to develop a disability subgroup that will provide support and resources for disability researchers who are conducting systematic reviews.

The Campbell Collaboration is an international nonprofit organization that oversees systematic reviews in the social, behavioral, and educational arenas. Systematic reviews are rigorous reviews of research findings designed to summarize evidence in the interest of providing useful information to policymakers, practitioners, and the public regarding what interventions help, harm, or have no detectable effect.

The disability subgroup will be part of the Campbell Collaboration’s Education Coordinating Group. SEDL program manager John Westbrook who leads the NCDDR, said, “The field of disability and rehabilitation has not had the representation or infrastructure which allowed for disability and rehabilitation research to have some of the accepted procedures for aggregating and refining research results to determine what is rigorous and what is sufficient to establish some level of evidence.”

Westbrook said the value of the subgroup ultimately lies in “growing an information base that people with disabilities and their families can readily identify and access.”

Chad Nye, co-chair with Carole Torgerson for the Campbell Collaboration’s Education Coordinating Group, said, “No other group I know of focuses its attention on assessing the quality and quantity of disability research for which we can draw unbiased conclusions about the intervention effects. We are trying to find out what works. In disability, we have lots of research that hasn’t been tapped—we may not need to reinvent the wheel.”

Westbrook and Ralf Schlosser, a professor and chairman of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at Northeastern University, will serve as co-chairs of the disability subgroup. The subgroup will provide guidance and review to researchers undertaking a systematic review.

About the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR)
SEDL operates the NCDDR through funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). NCDDR’s scope of work focuses on knowledge translation (KT) of NIDRR-sponsored research and development results into evidence-based instruments and systematic reviews. NCDDR is developing systems for applying rigorous standards of evidence in describing, assessing, and disseminating research and development outcomes.

About SEDL

SEDL (formerly Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit