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Unit information: Inclusive Research with Disabled People in 2016/17

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Unit name Inclusive Research with Disabled People
Unit code ACHSM0001
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Val Williams
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit springs from the burgeoning movement for emancipatory and participatory research carried out by and with disabled people. In order for social research to have an impact, it is necessary for it to be grounded in the lived experience of disabled 'end users' of social care services. Developments in this field have been led by disabled people themselves, who have criticised conventional social care research for a tendency to reinforce a care system which they see as oppressive (Oliver, 1990). The unit will explore these developments, and specifically focus on research which includes people with learning disabilities, where there are issues of the ownership of the research, the development of the skills necessary to carry out research, power relationships and support.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Describe and synthesize developments in the field of emancipatory, participatory and inclusive research by and with disabled people since 1990.
  • Understand how to design research, using participatory and action research models.
  • Identify and critically reflect on the main benefits and tensions in practising inclusive research with those who might find it hard to engage in research methodologies

Construct a practicable, robust and valid research project which includes disabled people or other community participants as key players.

Teaching Information

Guided reading, lectures, seminars, and presentations across 21 contact hours in the University. Aspects of the unit will be taught by disabled people who have experience of carrying out their own research.

Assessment Information

4,000 word essay (100%: there will be an option to carry out the assignment in one of two ways:

a) reporting on discussions with disabled people, in relation to designing, initiating or using some research. The assignment will both report on that discussion and reflect on it in relation to the issues raised in the literature.

b) identifying the key issues and tensions in inclusive research methodologies in the literature and showing how they can be addressed in practice.

Reading and References

  • Barnes, C. and Mercer, G. (1997) Doing Disability Research. Leeds: The Disability Press.
  • Clough, P. and Barton, L. (eds) (1998) Articulating with Difficulty: research voices in inclusive education. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
  • Goodley, D. (2011) Disability Studies: An Interdisciplinary Introduction. London: Sage
  • Lowes, L. and Hulatt, I. (2005) Involving Service Users in Health and Social Care Research. London: Routledge.
  • Smyth, M. and Williamson, E. (eds) (2004) Researchers and their subjects: ethics, power, knowledge and consent. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Walmsley, J. and Johnson, K. (2003) Inclusive Research with People with Learning Disabilities: Past, Present and Futures. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Williams, V. (2011) Disability and Discourse: analysing inclusive conversation with people with intellectual disabilities. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.