Hartley & Muhit, “Using Qualitative Research Methods for Disability Research in Majority World Countries”

Hartley, Sally, and Mohammad Muhit. “Using Qualitative Research Methods for Disability Research in Majority World Countries.” Asia Pacific Disability Rehabilitation Journal 14.2 (2003): 103–114. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Stone and Priestly argue that this is particularly important in both disability and in majority world research, where research has been based in an oppressive theoretical paradigm, and ‘decades of ‘scientific’ research have perpetrated the marginalisation of disabled people’ so that ‘research has become part of the problem.’ Majority world is ‘ where the vast majority of the world’s people live, yet they have access to a fraction of the world’s wealth and power.’ A more emancipatory approach is required to move forward in a positive way and qualitative methods offer potential in this arena. (104)

Okay, so let’s be clear: This applies to the US.  You don’t have to like hearing that, but that whole 1% think is still true, and it’s relevant here: We have a lot of people, and a lot of them have no access to wealth or power.  Since we’re talking about disabled populations, consider that for many such people, getting married is essentially impossible.  I’m thinking also of Yergeau’s assertion that autism policy is decided without input from people with autism, because the prevailing theory is that their condition disqualifies them from commenting on their condition.  In other words, “research has become part of the problem.”

Many individual countries simply do not have ANY research on particular topics in the disability field. (108)

This reminds me of something I read recently by Sushil Oswal, where he referenced interacting with a Japanese scholar, and asking if said scholar had ever met a disabled person.  The response was, “No, of course not,” followed by a moment of introspection and then, “Well … I mean … of course I have, I guess I just didn’t think of it that way.”  This is all paraphrased, of course; please don’t quote it.  The point is, disability studies is still establishing its existence, and I think that means it’s a good time to fiddle with definitions–because we don’t have time to fiddle with definitions, so people are less inclined to argue process and more inclined to be happy there is one.  If that makes sense?

I’m spending a lot of prep time for this project being concerned about how it’ll be received.  Not sure how I feel about that.

It is also important to appreciate that the ability of formulating open-ended questions and facilitating discussions in a non-directional manner, needs detailed planning, adequate practice and an understanding about the study participants and the environment in which they live. Qualitative research relies heavily on the empathy, commitment and involvement of the researcher. It needs prolonged contact with the community and the people to understand the inner meaning of the qualitative data. (110)

This is where I start to get into trouble, I’m afraid.  In terms of the former, I’m going to have trouble formulating the questions, because I’m headed in a very direct manner.  I don’t really know how to have non-directing questions without seeming like I’m spending a lot of time beating around the bush, which as an interviewee would frustrate me.  Although maybe I’m weird.

In terms of the other, yeah, I’m hip, but there’s that whole thing where people often think I’m an asshole.  Really gotta work on that for this project, I suppose.

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