This groundbreaking text makes an intervention on behalf of disability studies into the broad field of qualitative inquiry. Ronald Berger and Laura Lorenz introduce readers to a range of issues involved in doing qualitative research on disabilities by bringing together a collection of scholarly work that supplements their own contributions and covers a variety of qualitative methods: participant observation, interviewing and interview coding, focus groups, autoethnography, life history, narrative analysis, content analysis, and participatory visual methods.
The chapters are framed in terms of the relevant methodological issues involved in the research, bringing in substantive findings to illustrate the fruits of the methods. In doing so, the book covers a range of physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments.
This work resonates with themes in disability studies such as emancipatory research, which views research as a collaborative effort with research subjects whose lives are enhanced by the process and results of the work. It is a methodological approach that requires researchers to be on guard against exploiting informants for the purpose of professional aggrandizement and to engage in a process of ongoing self-reflection to clear themselves of personal and professional biases that may interfere with their ability to hear and empathize with others.