GEORGE N. WRIGHT and ANN BECK TROTTER: (1968). 674 pages.
volume contains reports of 97 research projects carried out on the rehabilitation of the handicapped between 1954 and 1965. It can be regarded as a progress report of “Research and Demonstration” projects carried out under the aegis of the American Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Administration. The overall aim is to communicate research findings which can provide a framework of scientifically demonstrated facts to guide administrative and professional practice in the rehabilitation of the handicapped. Each project is described by the authors of the volume and not by the original research workers. Every report contains an introductory section on background information, followed by a description of methodology, results and a discussion of the implication for professional and administrative practice. In addition, there is a brief summary of each project which is extremely useful for quick reference. The research covers a comprehensive range of disorders which includes not only the psychiatric and subnormal areas familiar to British psychologists, but also cardiovascular conditions, cerebral palsy, orthopaedic, respiratory, speech, hearing and visual disorders, geriatric and chronic illnesses. Other sections are concerned with the culturally deprived, homebound disabled, unemployment compensation, rehabilitation facilities, counseling and evaluation, and administrative practice. The volume is well written, and efficiently set out for quick referenceas well as more detailed consideration. One disadvantage, however, in the format of reporting is that the details of results are not always providedthis can be irritating in those studies that merit closer inspection. The volume will be very useful and interesting to British readers who want to derive a general impression of what is happening in American rehabilitation. There are very interesting sections on, for example, the use of standardized work behaviour samples in guidance and prediction of outcome, workshop training techniques and the functions of rehabilitation counselors. The general aim of the book-to provide a scientifically acceptable basis for professional and administrative practice-is also commendable. Whether this aim is secured can be seriously questioned, however, in view of the very poor quality of In fact, any psychologist whose characteristic response to the word much of the research which is described. “science” is more likely to be to cross himself rather than to give a Churchillian gesture of rejection, will suffer many attacks of acute distress as he reads accounts of a large number of projects described as “scientific”. Most of the errors are commonly described in introductory textbooks. For example, there is a frequent lack of, or inadequate, statistical analysis; the use of control groups is lacking, and there does not seem to be random allocation to groups where relevant; much of the research is based on measures (clinical judgement, questionnaires, ratings) of unknown reliability or validity. Much of what is described as “scientific” boils down to an expression of unsubstantiated opinion. In some cases, the conclusions and inferences made do not seem to follow from the facts reported and in one or two cases there seems to be a contradiction between the findings and the conclusions which are reached. In summary, this is certainly not a book which can be read uncritically. Though there is much here that is competently done and well reported, there is a great deal more that represents a low standard of scientific inquiry. In view of this, it is highly questionable whether the work outlined can be regarded as The authors of the volume providing a scientific basis for clinical and administrative practice in rehabilitation. have succeeded in communicating a great deal of information very effectively but many of the original investigators have been far less successful in completing acceptable research projects. DAVID
&Therapy Vol.8 No. I--H