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Advice from the experts

I must say, please researchers, think about the disability area. There are so many gaps and there are so many entry points. There are wonderful things you could do. It could be as simple as maybe using the Washington set of questions, the short version– just a few questions. So that whatever research you’re doing also captures people with disabilities. The involvement of persons with disabilities right from the onset of the design of the research is important. It will be cheaper and it will be accommodative. The convention calls upon the effective pool and effective participation of persons with disabilities through adequate consultation. We need to hear their voices before we decide to embark on something. And disability-related research promotes mainstreaming and promotes inclusion.
Please desegregate your mainstream studies. And also, it’s not rocket science to work directly with disabled people. We want what everybody else wants– access to health, education, livelihoods, respect in the community. You can use the same tools to assess this. We’re fairly easy to find and they’re much– the best thing is to talk to disabled people about what their priorities are, and to people who research with disabled people, about how to go about it. It’s really very simple and we need more research. Approach the field– as any field, really– with humility, and to realise that people have gone this way before you. And also, that disabled people have been living with disability for decades, you know, they’ve been children for years.
And they’d also have an intimate knowledge of their experiences and of what disability means within their communities and society. The first thing I’d say to new researchers working in disability is you’re welcome, you’re needed. Please join us, we need a lot more evidence. And then the second thing I’d say is, there is a wealth of experience and knowledge, particularly from people with disabilities, about research. So I’d first recommend that you tap into that knowledge. So link together with disabled people’s organisations, and people with disabilities, and disabled researchers, and researchers working in disability to not recreate the wheel, but learn from them about ways of doing things.
And then please add that to your expertise, and that would be incredibly helpful in moving the evidence further forward. It would be great to collect more data that is action-orientated that helps deliver better programmes. But then also to make sure that that information is fed back to stakeholders to make sure that they know what to do with it in practical aspects. I’d also consider the interface between several aspects of people’s identities. So not only their disability status, but also their age, gender, and if possible, other factors such as economic status. And I’d also say that you should publish what you find as widely as possible.

In this step, you will hear from researchers and practitioners Professor Tom Shakespeare, Professor Hannah Kuper, Myroslava Tataryn, Florence Ndagire, Dom Haslam, and Queen Seketi, as they give you advice about embarking on research in disability.

Enjoy hearing their thoughts and suggestions!

Don’t forget that in Week 3, Tom and Hannah will be responding to your questions! You can leave them as a comment below.

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Global Disability: Research and Evidence

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