Being a researcher with intellectual disabilities: The hallmarks of inclusive research in action

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Inclusive research is a broad church, as will have been seen from the various examples and papers in this book. The current chapter stems principally from work done at Norah Fry Research Centre at the University of Bristol in the UK, where inclusive research has been one of the hallmarks, and where from the outset, it has been acknowledged that there are many different models and approaches (Minkes et al., 1995; Ward & Simons, 1998; Rodgers, 1998; Williams, 1999; Marriott & Williams, 2010) distinguished largely by the positioning of people with intellectual disabilities in the design of the project. The very term ‘inclusive’ research (Walmsley, 2001) subsequently gave us a way of conceptualising this spectrum of approaches, ranging from the more purely ‘emancipatory’ research advocated by Oliver (1992) where disabled people are in control, to ‘participatory’ research (Zarb, 1992) where disabled people may be recruited into studies led by academics. However, all of these approaches aim fundamentally to trouble and overturn the more traditional social relations of research production, in Oliver’s 1992 terminology. They all aim to introduce the voices of people with intellectual disabilities, as active agents in shaping their own lives and their own knowledge. This chapter therefore aims to showcase some of those voices, and to show how we can learn more about what constitutes inclusive research by analysing the fine detail of the interactions that take place during the conduct of research studies. A fuller explanation and exposition of this approach is given in Williams (2011); here I hope to give just a taster, which I trust will enable readers to be spectators to the words, and research interactions, which include people with intellectual disabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInklusive Forschung
Subtitle of host publicationGemeinsam mit Mencschen mit Lernschwierigkeiten forschen
EditorsTobias Buchner, Oliver Koenig, Saskia Schuppener
Place of PublicationBad Heilbrunn
PublisherVerlag Julius Klinkhardt
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-3-7815-2079-0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


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