Participatory research in a pandemic: The impact of Covid-19 on co-designing research with autistic people

Rudd, Danielle and Hwang, Se Kwang (2021) Participatory research in a pandemic: The impact of Covid-19 on co-designing research with autistic people. Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice. ISSN 1473-3250 (In Press)

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Social work research should adopt a critical approach to research methodology, opposing oppression that is reproduced through epistemological assumptions or research methods and processes. However, traditional approaches to autism research have often problematised and pathologized autistic1 individuals, reinforcing autistic people’s positions as passive subjects. This has resulted in autistic people being largely excluded from the production of knowledge about autism, and about the needs of autistic people. Participatory approaches promote collaborative approaches to enquiry and posit autistic people as active co-constructors of knowledge, a stance that is congruent with social work values of social justice and liberation. However, Covid-19 is not only altering our everyday life but also upending social research. This paper discusses the challenges faced by a participatory study involving autistic people during the Covid-19 pandemic. This paper examines how Covid-19 increased the individual vulnerability of autistic participants and changed their research priorities, increased the researcher’s decision-making power, and placed greater emphasis on barriers created by inaccessible methods. Covid-19 did not present novel challenges, but rather exacerbated existing tensions and inevitable challenges that are inherent in adopting an approach that aims to oppose oppression.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Participatory Research, Autistic people, Practical and ethical issues, Covid-19, Anti-oppressive research
Subjects: L500 Social Work
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2021 10:28
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2021 14:00

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