Doing research with intellectually disabled participants: reflections on the challenges of capacity and consent in socio-legal research

Doing research with intellectually disabled participants: reflections on the challenges of capacity and consent in socio-legal research
Rosie Harding
Journal of Law and Society, 16 December 2021
Abstract
In this article, I reflect on the praxis of doing qualitative interview research involving intellectually disabled people as participants. I explore the ways in which ethical and legal norms work together to shape what is possible in research with intellectually disabled participants. I use stories from the field to explore issues of recruitment and sampling, working with ‘gatekeeper’ organizations, accessible information and informed consent, and data sharing and open access. As these reflections demonstrate, undertaking fieldwork involving intellectually disabled participants presents multiple challenges for socio-legal researchers. They also show that many of the challenges are surmountable, offering concerns, considerations, and solutions that can, and perhaps should, be considered by all socio-legal researchers who wish to ensure that all of the voices of society are included and reflected in their research.

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