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Critical pedagogy and disability in participatory research: a review

Emma May (School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 28 February 2024

81

Abstract

Purpose

The literature review explores how multidisciplinary approaches based on critical pedagogy and participatory research can provide frameworks for equitable partnerships and genuine participation in educational design and research practices. Additionally, the essay aims to expand understandings of equitable engagement within educational research and design based on principles from critical pedagogy.

Design/methodology/approach

The essay draws from diverse literature in the learning sciences, health informatics, industrial design, disability studies, ethnic studies, rehabilitation science, and to a lesser extent HCI research to understand how critical pedagogy and participatory research methods can provide useful frameworks for disabled peoples' equitable engagement and genuine participation in educational research and design. The literature reviewed in the paper concern topics such as participatory approaches to community development with disabled adults, the implementation of university-initiated community partnerships, participatory research with students and disabled people, and the importance of culturally-responsive research practices. The design literature in this review explores various arenas such as the co-design of assistive technologies with disabled children and adults and the design of curricula for students with and without disabilities. This review focuses on research practices that engender disabled peoples' participation in educational research and design, with focus on developing multidisciplinary frameworks for such research.

Findings

The literature review concludes that participatory research methods and critical pedagogy provide useful frameworks for disabled peoples’ participation in educational design and research practices. Critical pedagogy and participatory design allow for the genuine participation of disabled people in the research process.

Social implications

Emphases on collaboration and collective knowledge-building in social transformation are present in scholarship concerning critical pedagogy, participatory research, and disability studies. However, these connections have been routinely underexplored in the literature. This paper aims to underscore these integral connections as a means to build solidarity between disabled and other marginalized people.

Originality/value

The connections between participatory research methods, critical pedagogy, and disability studies have been previously underexplored. The literature review proposes a combined approach, which has the potential to radically transform multiple realms of research beyond the learning and information sciences.

Keywords

Citation

May, E. (2024), "Critical pedagogy and disability in participatory research: a review", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-02-2023-0021

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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