Applying the Mental Capacity Act to research with people with learning disabilities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the experiences of a researcher negotiating consent with people with learning disabilities to become participants in a research study. The study was about how the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) was applied to everyday decision making in social care settings. However, before data collection could begin, the researcher had to follow the principles of the MCA and the requirements of ethical research practice. The paper reports on the important role of gatekeepers in allowing (or preventing) access to potential participants. However, gatekeepers did not always act in a manner in keeping with the first principle of the MCA. Additionally, the dilemmas for a researcher in assessing participants’ capacity to consent to the study are described, as are three approaches followed which supported people to decide for themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-134
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number2
Early online date18 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Mental Capacity Act,
  • Learning Disabilities
  • research ethics,

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