‘Internet is easy if you know how to use it’ : Doing online research with people with learning disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mikulak, Magdalena and Ryan, Sara and Russell, Siabhainn and Caton, Sue and Keagan-Bull, Richard and Spalding, Rebecca and Ribenfors, Francesca and Hatton, Christopher (2023) ‘Internet is easy if you know how to use it’ : Doing online research with people with learning disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 51 (2). pp. 269-278. ISSN 1354-4187

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Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic changed the way we live, work, interact and do research. Many activities moved online, and digital inclusion became an urgent issue for researchers working with people with learning disabilities and other groups at risk of exclusion. This has generated new questions about how we conduct research and what it means to go into ‘the field’. Methods: We discuss our experience working across four qualitative research projects involving 867 participants with learning disabilities, conducted during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Findings: Moving research online resulted in often-swift adaptations to research designs and practice, bringing new insights and benefits to our studies. The changing circumstances fostered innovation and greater flexibility and contributed to research becoming more accessible to many. However, doing research online also posed new challenges as well as amplified existing ones. Conclusions: The pandemic has made it easier for some people with learning disabilities to participate in research, but more needs to be done to improve the reach and quality of that participation. Researchers should make the process of participation as accessible as possible. It is also their job to question and challenge the conditions that create barriers to participation in research and to look for ways to change these. We make some recommendations on how this can be achieved.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
British Journal of Learning Disabilities
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? empowerment issueslearning (intellectual) disabilitiesresearchphychiatric mental healthpediatrics ??
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Deposited On:
16 May 2024 13:24
Last Modified:
17 May 2024 01:54