Image: aeroplane flying overhead. Photo (cc) Andy Mabbett.
I’m currently working on a pilot study into the experiences of disabled Christians. This will be an entirely qualitative study focused primarily on disabled people’s experiences, as a way in to research on the theologies or practices of specific churches. Such disabling structures will be visible in people’s stories, as Barnes makes clear in his work on emancipatory research – although he warns against a sole focus on experience, which is where later stages of this research will come into play. With a number of people willing to take part at this stage, I need to decide how I’m going to approach the subject with pilot participants. It’s a difficult stage of the research here – I am committed to the emancipatory paradigm and to allowing participants to set the research agenda, but I do need initial methods to get the ball rolling. I’m loathe to write a detailed research design, nonethless. I need a provisional, very flexible one.
Meanwhile this week: A particular experience is reminding me of the social barriers to education and research that disabled people still face. Which makes me more determined that this research WILL be done by a disabled researcher. There are still major barriers to achieving what I believe should be a long-term goal of having representative numbers of disabled researchers in social research, especially disability research. As Barnes and Oliver, along with others, have been saying for years.
With that thought, I’m off to read Nancy Eiesland and move the focus back to religion.