Inclusivity of People with Disabilities in Research

Dec 3, 2018 | News

On this United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we bring attention to the need for inclusion of people with disabilities in research for market and public opinion as well as product development and testing. With one billion people worldwide with disabilities, their voice and inclusion are essential.

What Needs to be Done to Ensure Inclusion?

We recommend the development and pretesting of research instruments to ensure they are friendly and accessible to people with disabilities. When fielding surveys, devote a specific step aimed at accessibility and ease of use for those with physical and cognitive disabilities. Designing a data collection with those who may experience more difficulties improves overall data quality across all populations.

1 in 7 People Have Some Type of Disability,
an Estimated 1 Billion People Worldwide

Examples to Consider for Your Next Research Study

  • Consider the use of multiple modes. Address-based sampling can often leave important populations out of the response sample.
  • Make use of design and layout techniques, such as high contrast, appropriate fonts and sizes as well as pretesting instruments to be compatible with reader software for those with visual impairments. Follow American with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines to ensure usability.
  • Allow sufficient response space for those with impaired motor skills, and overall, design data collection considering respondent burden.
  • Include a helpdesk option to assist in collecting responses from individuals with disabilities
  • Keep surveys concise. Use short sentences, plain language and few response categories to make instruments more accessible to those who use adaptive software for impaired cognitive abilities or motor coordination difficulties.
  • When fielding in-person interviews, pay close attention to the accessibility of research facilities both from an architectural perspective as well as in the spaces used to conduct one-on-one cognitive and usability testing.
  • Study your target audience and market. Include testing of instruments and products in your sample leads to better serve the entire market.
  • Include a breakout question to obtain disability statistics in your inquiry. While most research includes conscious measurement of differences by gender, ethnicity and age, few examine differences in customer experience or program access among people with disabilities. Such questions provide an opportunity to improve how we serve people with a variety of disabilities, issues that may otherwise seem virtually invisible.

About Author

Aysha Keisler leads our Health Research Division serving public health and private healthcare organizations. She brings a decade of behavioral science and healthcare research experience. She welcomes conversations about solving tough health issues to improve health outcomes. EurekaFacts is a market research firm specializing in the recruitment of hard-to-reach audiences. Clients enjoy our innovative methods and use of the latest technologies, like artificial intelligence and advanced analytics. We pinpoint the insights and data you need to shape your health initiatives for a better, safer, healthier world.