Research on high abilities: The state of the art and the “hard walk” of qualitative inquiry

  • Ana Pereira Antunes


The knowledge about high ability students has implied the development of several studies on the subject. Several researchers have questioned the research done in the field of gifted education not only searching for the best practices, trying to develop evidence-based intervention (Robinson, Shore, & Enersen, 2007), but also searching for the topics studied and the research methods used. In Psychology, despite the recognition of qualitative methodology (Michell, 2004) and the creation of qualitative research journals (Brinkmann, 2017), quantitative methodology still tends to be the dominant paradigm (Rubin, Bell, & McClelland, 2018; Wiggins, Gordon-Finlaysonb, Beckerc, & Sullivan, 2015). So, research on the field of giftedness and gifted education has somehow accompanied this evolution and tendency seeing that authors of empirical research still use primarily quantitative methods (Leech, Collins, Jiao, & Onwuegbuzie, 2011). However, a growing number of qualitative studies are found (Dai, Swanson, & Cheng, 2011) and the concern about researches done is seen in the presentation of exemplars of quality studies (Coleman, Guo, & Dabbs, 2007). Currently, the subject of research on giftedness and gifted education is relevant because it allows the development of future policy and practice (Plucker & Callahan, 2014), and the construction of collaboration networks between countries/regions, institutions, and researchers (Hernández-Torrano & Kuzhabekova, 2019).

The main goal of this paper is to present a perspective on the current state of the art, more specifically regarding research interests and typology of studies carried out in the field of high abilities and giftedness.