Going Beyond "No Search Results"

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Virginia Tech

One of the barriers to investigating Disability within higher education is that institutional discussion of Disability is often non-existent, even within larger discussions of diversity and inclusion. What is a researcher to do when they are trying to pay attention to multiple sites without creating an undue burden on themselves or others?

This project outlines an alternative approach; instead of conducting surveys or interviews with individuals, the institutions themselves are the source of information. Using methods that center accessibility, affordability, and feasibility, an intensive document collection process was undertaken at three separate institution of higher education to elucidate barriers in performing research across time and space, focusing on the concept of research methods and results that would be truly "open access" in a manner that goes beyond financial consideration.

I myself am persistently aware of the privilege of performing this research, as research around Disability is so frequently performed “on” or “for” as opposed to “by” or “with”. The methods discussed in this paper utilize the motto of Disability activism, “Nothing about us, without us” as a guiding principle, leading to strategic methodological choices that will enhance the reproducibility of both the methods and the research findings.

disability, Education, Higher, accessibility, digital media, documents, research process