Exploring Theories and Expanding Methodologies: Where we are and where we need to go: Volume 2


Table of contents

(15 chapters)

The papers explore the background to British academic and political debates over the social model, and argue that the time has come to move beyond this position. Three central criticisms of the British social model are presented, focusing on: the issue of impairment; the impairment/disability dualism; and the issue of identity. It is suggested that an embodied ontology offers the best starting point for disability studies, and some signposts on the way to a more adequate social theory of disability are provided.

The experiences of people with disabilities can only be understood through the use of the disability paradigm. As in any developing area, there are a number of versions of the disability paradigm, each one of which is presented. Together they lead to the version of the disability paradigm in which disability is understood as discrimination, with equal protection and due process as means for countering this discrimination. Finally, a composite disability paradigm is elaborated.

The collection of information about persons with disabilities presents a particularly complex measurement issue, due, in part, to the diverse and complex phenomena represented by the word disability. Although a large and growing number of scales exist which attempt to measure impairments and disabilities, little is known about the measurement error properties of most of these question items and composite scales. This paper re-examines the empirical literature related to the measurement of persons with disabilities, identifying the various methodological factors that affect the measurement process.

This paper presents results on functional limitations and the use of special aids from the Census Bureau's 1999 Questionnaire Design Experimental Research Survey (QDERS), which included a split-ballot test comparing person-level questions to household-level questions. We find some evidence that the use of a household-level design results in lower survey estimates than the person-level design. The household-level approach, however, produces somewhat more reliable data than the person-level approach and results in a shorter interview than the person-level design. Interviewers administer survey questions equally well in both treatments, and respondents have little difficulty understanding and answering survey questions in either treatment. Item non-response is trivial in both treatments.

This paper is the result of a comprehensive study of the issues and challenges of including persons with disabilities in interview surveys. Through a review of the literature and over fifty in-depth interviews with key disability advocates and survey methodologists, we discuss the major issues (including sampling, proxy interviewing, and the use of adaptive technologies) and present a set of recommendations for including persons with disabilities in interview surveys.

There is a developing literature on qualitative research involving people with intellectual disabilities, yet specific methodological and theoretical guidelines for conducting such studies are limited. This paper is an effort to document the author's experiences as well as techniques used by other researchers in making research accessible and meaningful to participants with intellectual disabilities. The ethics, practicalities and political issues in interpretive studies are specifically addressed and suggestions for action are made with an emphasis on the empowerment and participation of people with intellectual disabilities.

This paper investigates the case study as a research method. It examines its strengths, weaknesses, and criticisms. It describes important characteristics of the method and its important features, providing examples from the literature. It seeks to correct some misimpressions, and to point out overlooked potentials, new justifications, and further possibilities and directions. It points to features of the case study that would be particularly useful in studies of disability. The conclusion is that case studies, especially those focusing on verstehen and on special in-depth understanding, offer great potential in disability studies.

Publication date
Book series
Research in Social Science and Disability
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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