Guidelines for Including People with Disabilities in Research


The National Disability Authority considers that the inclusion of people with disabilities in research on issues which affects their lives is an essential element of ensuring that disability research accurately reflects the perspectives of people with disabilities and remains focused on the issues of greatest importance to them.

To promote an inclusive approach to disability research the National Disability Authority has established these guidelines, which identify some of the key considerations for inclusion and outlines models that researchers can use to include people with disabilities in their research.

Key Considerations for Inclusion

There are some key considerations which should be applied to any inclusive approach to disability research. These are:

  • Planning for Inclusion
  • Making the Research Process Accessible
  • Using Appropriate Language
  • Being 'Disability Aware'

Models of Inclusion

The diverse nature of research means that some ways of including people with disabilities will be more suited to some projects than others, depending on the methodology employed and on the scope of the research. Some projects may also involve different ways of including people with disabilities at different stages of the research process. Some of the models of inclusion which researchers can consider are:

  • Participatory Approaches to Research
  • Steering and Advisory Committees
  • Consultation and Planning Groups
  • Employing Researchers with Disabilities
  • Having People with Disabilities as Research Respondents

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