This research was funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (RES-000-22-4423). It was carried out by Melanie Nind, Helen Graham and Hilra Vinha at the University of Southampton between April 2011 and May 2012.

We did this research because we thought it was needed. Melanie, Helen and Hilra have all conducted research in more and less inclusive ways at different times. We see inclusive research as important but not as something that cannot be challenged or talked about critically. We wanted to create safe, lively talking spaces where we could explore how far with have got as a research community, where the challenges remain and where and how we can move forward. We set out to understand and share our perspectives on what counts as quality in inclusive research. We knew that agreement would not always be possible or necessary. We wanted te research to be about hearing different voices and not about being judgmental. We did not see ourselves as the experts gathering and using our participants’ data. Rather we sawourselves as learning with participant-researchers, working together toward some real benefits:

  • bringing people together to share their knowledge and experience so there is less need for everyone to ‘learn on the job’
  • producing guidance materials and case studies on the issues and challenges in inclusive research
  • extending the number of people who are able to carry out research in an inclusive way
  • enhancing the quality of inclusive research alongside enhancing our understanding of the criteria for judging the quality of such research.

The research involved focus groups and included researchers with learning disabilities who lead and conduct their own emancipatory research, researchers with and without learning disabilities who work together as co-researchers, academic researchers with experience of gathering data from or with people with learning disabilities and people who influence policy concerning, or commission or fund, inclusive research.

To find out more look at our information about why we did the research, what we did, who we worked with, how we did it and what we found. Our official website is available here.