1st Edition

Social Research and Disability Developing Inclusive Research Spaces for Disabled Researchers

Edited By Ciaran Burke, Bronagh Byrne Copyright 2021
    188 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    188 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Social Research and Disability argues that the contemporary rules of sociological methods outlined in numerous research methods texts make a number of assumptions concerning the researcher including ambulance, sight, hearing and speech. In short, the disabled researcher is not considered when outlining the requirements of particular methods. Drawing upon these considerations, the volume emphasizes how disabled researchers negotiate the empirical process, in light of disability, whilst retaining the scientific rigour of the method. It also considers the negative consequences arising from disabled researchers’ attempts at "passing" and the benefits that can emerge from a reflexive approach to method.

    This innovative and original text will, for the first time, bring together research-active academics, who identify as being disabled, to consider experiences of being disabled within a largely ableist academy, as well as strategies employed and issues faced when conducting empirical research. The driving force of this volume is to provide the blueprints for bringing how we conduct social research to the same standards and vision as how the social world is understood: multi-faceted and intersectional. To this end, this edited collection advocates for a sociological future that values the presence of disabled researchers and normalises research methods that are inclusive and accessible.

    The interdisciplinary focus of Social Research and Disability offers a uniquely broad primary market. This volume will be of interest not only to the student market, but also to established academics within the social sciences.


    Ciaran Burke and Bronagh Byrne

    Part 1: Navigating the Academy

    1. Owning My Room: Building a Safe, Accessible and Productive Space for Student Researchers with Complex Communication Disabilities

    Annmaree Watharow

    2. On the Outside Looking In?: Reflections on Being a Disabled Social and Feminist Geographer

    Vera Chouinard

    3. A Closer Look at ‘Wheelchair’ Ethnography: Ableism and the Insights Disabled Scholars Generate with - not despite - Their Impairments and Disabilities

    Karen Mogendorff

    4. Dilemmas of Identity Disclosure and Provision of Disability Support

    Stuart Read, Caroline Miles and Wendy Merchant

    Part 2: Conducting Research "In the Field"

    5. The Continuing Adventures of a Four-Legged Female Academic

    Nancy E. Hansen

    6. 10 Affects of Hidden, Mental Dis/Abilities and the Act of Disclosure

    Anita Goldschmied

    7. Lived Experience Researchers: The Power of Recovery from Mental Health Challenges

    Helena Roennfeldt and Louise Byrne

    Part 3: Shifting Methodologies

    8. Unsettling Ableism in Research Traditions: Toward Establishing Blind Methodologies

    Cynthia Bruce

    9. Deaf Research Methodologies? Confronting Epistemological Silences and Challenges in Qualitative Research

    Bronagh Byrne and Michael Schwartz

    10. "Repeat After Me": Gestalt, Fluency and Biographical Research

    Ciaran Burke

    Editorial Reflections

    Bronagh Byrne and Ciaran Burke


    Ciaran Burke is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of the West of England. His research focuses on access to higher education and graduate employment pathways. Adopting a Bourdieusian theoretical lens, he has published extensively on issues including graduate employment, social justice and social theory.

    Bronagh Byrne is Co-Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights and and Co-Founder of the Disability Research Network at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her research focuses on the rights of disabled children and young people. She has published widely on inclusive education and the implementation of international disability rights law and children’s rights law.