Methodological issues in researching disability in the South

Building R19, G39, School of Education
Research, Social Sciences, Students
Friday 23rd November 2012 (09:30-16:15)
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Dr Nidhi Singal 
Dr Paul Lynch

BAICE Thematic Forum - Education, Disability and Development

Educating Children with Disabilities in Developing Countries: The Role of Data Sets' - recommendations for a World Bank project

Presenter: Professor Colin Robson, Emeritus Professor at University of Huddersfield

This paper for the World Bank arose from work done at OECD for a number of years on developing internationally comparable statistics for children with special educational needs. The work was primarily in the developed countries which are members of OECD, although some piloting was also carried out in developing countries.

The methodology underlying the approach will be outlined together with modifications suggested for its use in developing countries. Conclusions and recommendations are summarised. Changes in priorities at the World Bank were followed by the proposed project not being funded. The ubiquity of political considerations in work of this kind will be stressed.

Disability and development: anthropology in practice

Presenter: Dr Juliet Bedford, Director, Anthrologica and Research Associate, School of Anthropology, University of Oxford

Using a series of case studies from Africa and South Asia, this paper will explore anthropological approaches (qualitative, participatory and mixed-methodologies) used in the applied research of physical disability and development. It will address three key themes: local theories of causation, perceptions of disability and associated language; treatment-seeking behaviour and pathways of care; and decision making processes and the ability to act. The socio-cultural presentation of disability and the experience of intended beneficiaries need to be meaningfully incorporated into development agendas in ways that influence policy and programming at community, national and international levels.

Reflections from the Model Disability Survey

Presenter: Professor Alarcos Cieza, University of Southampton

Following the recommendations of the WHO and World Bank’s World Report on Disability and its recommendations about the need for internationally comparable and reliable disability data, WHO and the World Bank have begun a project to develop standardized survey questions that can gather information both on the health state of an individual – limitations in the capacity to function – as well as the features of the environment that facilitate or create barriers to functioning. This planned Model Disability Survey will use a common definition of and conceptual framework for disability based on WHO's International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF). The survey will provide data that social, health and other sectors require, and which can respond to monitoring requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This presentation will focus on the work undertaken so far for the development of this Model Disability Survey.

Discussions and Networking Session

In smaller groups we will discuss:

  1. Emerging themes and conceptual challenges from the three presentations and to reflect on our own practices in carrying out research in Southern contexts. 
  2. Ways of networking to broaden the thematic forum’s membership and explore theoretical and methodological issues around disability, education and poverty in international and comparative research.

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Dr Nidhi Singal 
Dr Paul Lynch