Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Issues in Research with Children with Disabilities

Research Staff

Dr. Jean Whyte

About the Project


In the review of disability-related research in Ireland 1996 - 2001 produced by the National Disability Authority (NDA, 2002b), a commitment was given to support the development of a coherent strategic disability research framework in Ireland. This paper contributes to that framework in that it provides the background for a discussion of issues related to research within that sector with a specific group - children. This is set in the context of a re-evaluation of the status and role of children in society in Ireland as well as advances in the field of disability studies and in the context of the development of a rights-based approach in Irish disability policy

What does the research focus on?

A brief account of past and current conceptualisations of childhood and of models of disability is provided in the first section of the paper. Examples are given of recent trends in research with children with disabilities in Ireland and elsewhere, models of research are identified and gaps are highlighted in the second section. Core principles and values which should inform decisions on issues arising from research with children with disabilities are outlined in section three and issues which need to be considered are suggested in the fourth section.

What does the research involve?

The discussion paper and the Guidelines and Checklist evolved through a series of stages of which the first was consultation with a number of experts in the field nationally and internationally —professional researchers and service providers. Issues of concern emerged from these consultations which in turn informed the review of the literature. The first draft of the Issues paper was circulated for comment to the Advisory Committee which had been established for the project. An amended draft was sent to 40 active researchers and service providers nationally and internationally. Their comments were included in the penultimate draft which was discussed at a workshop organised by the National Disability Authority in September 2003 and attended by a range of individuals representing different aspects of the field of interest. The relevance of the set of documents was highlighted by workshop members; some minor changes and additions were suggested and where appropriate these were subsequently incorporated in the final draft.

Final products of the research:

The research commenced in October 2002. The draft Report was submitted in October 2003 and the Final report was accepted in April 2004.

Three documents resulted from the process:

  1. A discussion paper: Issues in research with children with disabilities: a review of practical and ethical concerns
  2. Guidelines for Good Practice in Research with Children with Disabilities
  3. A Checklist for researchers doing research with children with disabilities

The reports are accessible from NDA Website

Last updated 15 March 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).