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Inclusive online research with people labeled with intellectual and developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic: technological adaptations

Sara Michelle Miller (Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Lieke van Heumen (Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Enabling Technologies

ISSN: 2398-6263

Article publication date: 25 May 2021

Issue publication date: 28 June 2021

681

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report process findings of two online inclusive research projects with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). It includes a discussion of the potential benefits and barriers of online inclusive research and its impact on the future of inclusive research.

Design/methodology/approach

Two researchers describe the transition of their inclusive research projects from in-person to online formats and highlight how they operationalized the principles of inclusive research throughout these transitions.

Findings

Potential benefits of inclusive research include enabling participation of research participants with IDD when in-person methods are not safe or feasible, increasing participant control of the research environment, stimulating participants’ online skill development and reducing geographic and support barriers to participation in research. A barrier to participation in online inclusive research includes people with IDD’s lack of access to online spaces and Web-enabled devices. Additionally, people with IDD have support and communication needs that are not always accommodated by online skills training and access to the internet. To conclude, inclusive researchers need to develop skills and reflexivity specific to online research environments.

Originality/value

Inclusive online research with people with IDD brings unique ethical and methodological challenges that have not been well explored in the literature. Engaging people with IDD in research using online tools expands the terrain of inclusive research, opening possibilities for even greater inclusion and participation.

Inclusive abstract

Two researchers could not do their research studies because of the pandemic. They did them online. The studies were with people with disabilities.

Being online can make it easier for people with disabilities to be a part of a study. They can choose how to be a part of the study. They can also learn more skills.

Being online can be hard for people with disabilities. Some do not have a computer or smartphone. Some do not know how to use them. Researchers may not know how to help people with disabilities to be a part of an online study.

Keywords

Citation

Miller, S.M. and van Heumen, L. (2021), "Inclusive online research with people labeled with intellectual and developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic: technological adaptations", Journal of Enabling Technologies, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 122-135. https://doi.org/10.1108/JET-12-2020-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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