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Inclusive research and inclusive education: unnecessarily unconnected?

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Inclusive research and inclusive education: unnecessarily unconnected?. Melanie Nind The Philosophy of Inclusive Education Day Conference, 5 November 2012, University of Stirling. For copies of the paper email [email protected] Addressing unanswered questions. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Inclusive research and inclusive education: unnecessarily unconnected?Melanie NindThe Philosophy of Inclusive Education Day Conference, 5 November 2012, University of Stirling. For copies of the paper email [email protected]

  • *Addressing unanswered questionsWhy is it that the moves towards inclusive research have happened largely outside of the discipline of education and distinctly unconnected to the field of inclusive education? How viable are the claims to the moral superiority of inclusive research? What kinds of knowledge are produced by inclusive research? What does quality look like in inclusive research? What does all this mean for inclusive education?

  • Why the disconnection?

    First, I will define some conceptsSecond, I will examine influences and driversThird, I will look for common and distinct ground*

  • Inclusive research: a cluster of approaches

  • Participatory research Bourke (2009, p. 458): a research process which involves those being researched in the decision-making and conduct of the research, including project planning, research design, data collection and analysis, and/or the distribution and application of research findings.Motivations can be: listening/ accessing perspectives/ understanding experience/ consulting/ involving participants in decision-making/ working together to make something happen (Greene, 2009).


  • *Emancipatory researchUnder the control of, e.g. students, disabled people, and in their interests Otherwise researchers are part of the problem/exploiting people whose data we build our careers onThe researcher is either on the side of, e.g. disabled people, or one of the oppressors (Barnes 1996)Changing social & material relations of research production (Zarb 1992, Oliver, 1992)

  • *Blurring the boundariesDifference more a matter of emphasis than kind (Kiernan, 1999, p.45) vs research by children is fundamentally different from adult research about children (Kellett, 2005) A continuum of approaches from adult-centred, adult-led to youth-centred, youth-led research (Freeman & Mathison, 2009).

  • *Inclusive researchWalmsley & Johnson (2003) propose term Inclusive research - allowing for the continuity and reciprocity between participatory & emancipatory research:must address issues which really matter to people with learning disabilities, and which ultimately leads to improved lives for them, must access and represent their views and experiences in a collaborative process, and reflect that people with learning disabilities need to be treated with respect by the research community (p.16).

  • Influences Changing model of childhood - children should be studied in and for themselves, connected to wider rights and citizenship debates - shift focus from children as object of research to actors in research Social model of disability barriers to participation and participatory rights perspectives, heightened awareness of marginalised positionSearch for inclusive methods of working with marginalized and excluded voices -leading to PAR in health, human geography


  • Influences Sociology of early 70s concern with cooperative experiential enquiry research that addresses co-researchers priorities and enables their deeper understanding. Policy/ UN rights conventions focus on rights for voice to be heard and participatory citizenshipTheory especially Freires praxis and rise of Social constructionism active meaning makers in co-construction of knowledge


  • Rights, right on & the right thing to doRights - rights agendas have produced a political and legal environment that encourages more participative approachesRight on - ethical and moral superiority The right thing to do - methodological superiority - better data or research outputs and research engagements. (Holland et al.,2008)


  • *Self-advocates speak outPeople who are not in the same boat as us dont understand what it is like to be us, they have not had our experiences. Because of this people will want to talk to us. We know what they are talking about and understand them (Townson et al. 2004: 73)People-led research is started and led by us, we are not following someone else, or being partly included, which also means partly rejected, by someone else. (Townson et al. 2004: 73)

  • *Drivers the desire for Empowerment - transformationDisruption of hierarchy/dichotomy (powerful/powerless)Active citizenship/involvementAuthenticity knowledge grounded in experienceAccessibility research open to allEthics respectful treatmentRecognition of competenceInclusion

  • Echoes in inclusive ed: concern withTransformation rather than tinkeringActive participation not just a gesture/desk Inclusion ethic of everyone Accessibility open up to all by addressing barriersEthics right thing to doRecognition of competence history of under-estimation


  • ButEducation is not at the forefront of power/voice/citizenship work stronger discourses and policies in health and social work, human geography, childhood studiesFocus in research by (learning) disabled adults is mostly on disabled adults livesFocus in research by children is rarely on inclusive educationPosition of teachers in inclusive research is at troubled boundary of powerful/powerless


  • Moral superiority of inclusive research? Important for whether we should be worried about this at allDoes it transform power relations?Does it lead to better knowledge?Who gets included/excluded?Are voices pure?Separation of emancipation from inclusion?


  • The nature of knowledge produced?Does inclusive research produce different kinds of knowledge?Grounded, experiential, practical, localDoes this help inclusive education? It is certainly a gap in inclusive educationBut theory still plays a key role and cannot be lost


  • Quality in inclusive research?Important if we are going to connect the two.Echoes of inclusion vs excellence debates.Quality social science and inclusiveness in research come together when: we answer questions we could not otherwise answer, but that are important; we access people and knowledge we could not otherwise access; we make reflexive use of insider, cultural knowledge; we bring authenticity to research; and we generate impact. (Nind & Vinha, 2012)


  • Quality in inclusive education?

    Quality education and inclusiveness in education come together when Are we in a position yet to answer this?*

  • Some common ground*

    Inclusive educationInclusive researchAbout inclusion and exclusion, participation & marginalisationMeant to be about everyone but pressure coming from those who are more marginalised who may have more to gain(Only the excluded need inclusive research Walmsley, 2004: 69)Assumption of competence/ potentialSubject to huge amounts of rhetoricLike self-advocacy, much claims making (Clement , 2003) saying what is important while not explaining the conditions which support its success; nor its challenges and difficulties.

  • What does this mean for inclusive ed?Implications are that we need to ask ourselves:Have we got the research priorities right? Are we asking the right questions?Are the right people setting the priorities, asking the questions, designing the research?Can inclusive education research do more to transform, emancipate, foster involvement of everyone?*

  • Conclusions We concluded Doing research inclusively, doing research well? by asserting the need for ongoing transformative dialogue and not fixing our concept of inclusive research too early or too strongly (thus avoiding creating a paradigm that is ultimately exclusive) (Nind & Vinha, in press)Is it helpful to retain a fluid conceptualisation of inclusive education also? Thus avoiding creating something special all over again.


  • AfterthoughtOliver (1997: 25) argued research can only be judged emancipatory after the event; one cannot do emancipatory research (nor write methodology cookbooks on how to do it) At what stage do we know that our education was inclusive? If we cannot prescribe how to do it can we define the conditions under which it might happen?*

  • For more see Nind, M. & Vinha, H. (2012) Doing research inclusively, doing research well? Report of the study: Quality and capacity in inclusive research with people with learning disabilities. University of Southampton.Nind, M. & Vinha, H. (in press) Doing research inclusively: Bridges to multiple possibilities in inclusive research, British Journal of Learning Disabilities.


  • ReferencesBarnes, C. (1996) Disability and the myth of the independent researcher, Disability & Society, 11(1): 107-10.Bourke, L. (2009) Reflections on Doing Participatory Research in Health: Participation, Method and Power, International Journal of Social Research Methodology 12(5): 457-74.Freeman, M. and Mathison, S. (2009) Researching Childrens Experience. New York: Guilford Press.Greene, S. (2009) Accessing childrens perspectives and experience: Some impediments. Advancing Participatory Research Methods with Children and Young People. NCRM/Child Well-Being Research Centre. London, 23 February 2009.Kiernan, C. (1999) Participation in Research by People with Learning Disabilities: Origins and Issues, British Journal of Learning Disabilities 27(2): 43-47.


  • Holland, S., Renold, E., Ross, N. and Hillman, A. (2008) Rights, Right On or the Right ThingTto Do? A Critical Exploration of Young Peoples Engagement in Participative Social Work Research. NCRM Working Paper Series 07/08., M. (2005) NCRM Methods Review Papers, NCRM/0

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