AbstractAs a result of a complex range of cultural, economic and social factors, contributions by learning disabled people to the production of knowledge have been at best marginalised and at worst rendered silent. This study seeks to break that silence by engaging learning disabled people as co-producers of disability and media research discourses. It does this in two main ways: by addressing the manner in which they are positioned in the research process, and by identifying the ways in which they are (mis)represented or not in newspapers. This research not only investigates but it also presents new ways of giving learning disabled people a say in the knowledge production process.
By the adoption of a mixed method approach in which learning disabled people are placed at the centre of the research process ,this study aims to identify and critically analyse the significance and meanings of representations of learning disabled adults by the contemporary, print version of English national newspapers. Drawing from both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, it uniquely incorporates distinct but interrelated data collection stages, including a research advisory group and two focus groups with learning disabled people and their supporters, alongside a content analysis of five hundred and forty six learning disability news stories.
This study offers new insights into the application and development of inclusive research principles, highlighting the contributions of supporters to the research process and the roles of a nondisabled inclusive researcher. It reveals the predominant ways by which learning disabled adults are represented by newspapers and how they are not generally engaged as sources of these news stories, while presenting the views of focus group members, throughout these discussions of the content analysis. This thesis concludes with a consideration of the implications of the findings for the future direction of inclusive research practices and media discourses that engage learning disabled people as co-producers of knowledge.
|Date of Award
|Gurnam Singh (Supervisor), Geraldine Brady (Supervisor) & Paul Bywaters (Supervisor)