Educational Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

February 2008


Published in Handbook of Research in School Consultation, edited by William P. Erchul and Susan M. Sheridan. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc., New York, 2008. ISBN: 9780805853360. Copyright © 2008 Taylor & Francis Group LLC. Used by permission.


Writing an epilogue (i.e., an ending) to a text as forward-thinking as this one is a bit of an oxymoron. Indeed, it has been the intent of the coeditors to encourage authors not only to provide "state of the science" relative to consultation research in key areas, but also to look ahead and carve out important research agendas still facing the field. It was our hope that the ideas presented herein would stimulate and invigorate new research directions and agendas and spur researchers to tackle new and challenging issues to move the field forward. Many themes have been offered in relation to the research discussed in the preceding chapters. Thus, this concluding chapter synthesizes the issues presented across chapters and offers some predictions about the future of school consultation research and its potential to guide practice.

If one thing is certain, it is that the research undertakings required to bolster new understandings in consultation will be neither simple nor straightforward. Virtually all of the authors in the handbook reflected on what is known and concluded that much more needs to be known. In one way or another, each lamented that we are ill-prepared to draw firm conclusions about processes or outcomes of consultation practice. This assessment is predicated on the fact that previous research has largely used imprecise or incomplete tools, improper methods, and limited samples. To make advances, we must improve our understanding of the mechanisms by which consultation works; interactions among relevant variables; and effects on broader, more salient outcomes. Whereas this account of limitations may appear rather daunting, we suggest that it represents exciting directions and opportunities for consultation researchers to expand and energize research efforts for the future. In this chapter, we explore questions that, if addressed, may accelerate the future progress of consultation research.