Conducting qualitative research with people with learning, communication and other disabilities: methodological challenges

Nind, Melanie (2009) Conducting qualitative research with people with learning, communication and other disabilities: methodological challenges. , National Centre for Research Methods, 24pp. (ESRC National Centre for Research Methods Review Paper, NCRM/012).


[img] PDF - Version of Record
Download (181Kb)
Original Publication URL:


This methodological paper reviews the research literature and discusses the issues that arise in conducting qualitative research with people for whom traditional methods of qualitative research might present challenges for researchers. The focus is on children and adults with learning difficulties, communication difficulties or other disabilities such as autism with associated complex challenges in communicating, understanding and taking part in qualitative research. The paper’s structure follows the stages of conducting research and includes design, ethics, data collection, analysis and reporting. Both methodological challenges in common with researching other groups (including other so-called vulnerable groups, minority groups and hard to reach groups as well as mainstream participants) and those unique to research with this disabled group are addressed, culminating in guidance for researchers on methods, approaches and key issues. Recurrent themes include: techniques for communicating abstract ideas to participants, enabling participants to express their views and tell of their experiences, ways of acting responsibly and ways of acting inclusively. The review illuminates some of developments in what can be achieved in research with people with learning and communication difficulties and some of limitations in what has been managed to date. The review was commissioned by NCRM in 2008.

Item Type: Monograph (Manual)
Related URLs:
Keywords: learning difficulties, disabilities, qualititative methods, ethics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Social Justice and Inclusive Education
ePrint ID: 65065
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
27 January 2009Published
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:50

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics