David McNaughton

David McNaughtonDavid McNaughton, Ph.D., Professor of Educational and School Psychology and Special Education with a cross appointment in Communication Sciences and Disorders, is the coordinator for the 2019  Doctoral Student AAC Research Think Tank. David teaches classes on assistive technology, grant writing, and literacy instruction at Penn State University. His current research interests include literacy instruction for individuals who require AAC, the development of vocational opportunities for individuals with severe disabilities, and the effective use of web-based instructional materials to support pre-service and in-service instruction. He is currently in charge of training and dissemination activities for the RERC on AAC.

Selected Reflections on Scholarly Activity

  1. Work from strong models
    • Identify work you consider exemplary, and consider how you can adopt those practices (with appropriate modifications) in your own scholarship. Examples include
      • styles of writing
        • analyze a journal manuscript you admire – what did the author(s) do at each step of the paper?
      • teaching methodologies
      • research methodologies
      • content of mission statement
        • how will you allocate your time to the different activities in your day? How does your schedule reflect your priorities?
    • The individuals that we consider to be outstanding in a field typically achieved that status by, in part, carefully studying the work of their predecessors and peers, and incorporating the successful practices of others in their own work.
  2. Maintain a balanced perspective
    • It can be difficult to acknowledge that our own work, and the work of others, contain both strengths and areas of challenge. The human mind is driven to create “stories” (Kahneman, 2011) – that something is “all good” or “all bad” – and we can sometimes feel this way about our own work (and the work of others).
    • Try to view your work in balance  – if someone else had done the work that you have done, what would your reaction be? Think of the balance of positive feedback and suggestions for change that you would make, and realized that all work has areas of strength and areas that would benefit from change.
  3. Do good work, and be seen to do good work
    • Plan from the beginning how you will document and share your research activities. This may influence, for example,
      • the members of your research team,
      • the types of data you collect,
      • how you share the results of your study.
    • What types of information (and in what formats) will be most influential to the different audiences you hope to reach?


Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. Macmillan.

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