Participants and interviews.

Being mildly forgetful, I forgot to record the presentation I did last week at uni, on my dissertation. It wasn’t particularly long or in-depth, but it would have made a good post. Oops. If anyone is interested, please let me know and I’ll send them a copy, complete with notes – I am working out how to put the powerpoint online with all the notes; I’d use Prezi, but it makes me nauseous, and I’m not sure how well it goes with text-to-speech readers. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears open comment box.

 

On to other things. I’m still waiting for ethics clearance from Bickbeck to start interviews, but hopefully I should hear soon-ish. By the end of July at the most; this has meant I’ve started to think about contingency plans, as that will only leave me six weeks to find participants, do the interviews, and write everything up – and I’m very aware that trying to rush things is not only bad for research, but bad for my health and sanity. Having said that, if you, dear reader, think you’d like to be a participant, let me know – these are my criteria:

  • You must be 18 or over at the time of interview.
  • You must identify as disabled, with part/all of your impairment(s) affecting your mobility and/or range of movement or motor control; you can have multiple conditions and I include chronic illnesses and pain within disability.
  • You must be sexually active – either currently or in the past. It’s up to you how you define sexually active, but if your disability/impairment is acquired, you must have been sexually active since that point. I include solo sexual activity – i.e. masturbation – as sexually active, but if you don’t, that’s ok too.
  • You must identify as Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Trans.
  • You’re happy to talk about having sex, sexual and erotic pleasure, and your disability.
  • You live in the UK.

 

I am restricting participants geographically in part because I think that the institutions and systems that regulate and affect disability are geographically-specific; access to medical care is different in the UK to the US, for example, and this influences how disability is viewed and thought of. It also means that, while I don’t think I’ll be able to do all the interviews face-to-face, I will at least have a chance to try to do so. Futher to that, while face-to-face interviews are arguably the norm for this sort of thing, I am limited myself in terms of access to transport – partly due to expense, partly to do with my own disability making longer-distance travel difficult – and so interviews will be conducted through Skype or email where face-to-face meetings aren’t possible – you’ll get to say which one you’re more comfortable with, and obviously, all interviews will be recorded and there will be informed consent forms to sign. If you have a carer or personal assistant, I am more than happy for them to be present if you wish – however, they will also have to sign consent forms; if you need a BSL or other language interpreter, there will be forms for them too (and I’ll be meeting that cost, even if you have someone you would rather bring).

The restriction to disabled people whose impairments affect their mobility is more complicated. In part, it’s purely logistical – this is only a MSc, and so my focus needs to be relatively narrow in order to be manageable. Then, more selfishly, I’m more familiar with mobility problems – I would say that I have issues with my mobility and range of movement – and so I’ve got a more vested interest. I’m not sure if this will make be a better researcher, but it will mean that I’m more in my comfort zone than if I were discussing queer sexualities and intellectual disabilities – both in terms of knowledge and my own empathies. While I do need to challenge myself, I don’t want to challenge myself too much – or do a disservice to the people who are taking the time to talk to me.

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