A Critical Dialogical Methodology for Conducting Research With Disabled Youth Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication

  • Gail Teachman, Peggy McDonough, Colin Macarthur, Barbara E. Gibson
  • Qualitative Inquiry, September 2017, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1077800417727763

Rethinking 'voice' in research with youth who have little or no speech

What is it about?

Normative assumptions about 'voice' deem some kinds of interview talk more valid than others. The methodology described in this paper draws on Bakhtin's dialogism to problematize dominant understandings of voice, authenticity and the autonomous research participant. Case examples illustrate how the methodology was developed and implemented in research with disabled youth who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

Why is it important?

Positivist framings of research interviews risk systematically excluding people who communicate in ways other than speech. Our dialogical approach contests normative assumptions about what makes a good interview and who is the ideal interview subject. The methodology has implications, not only in relation to communication difference, but also in research more broadly.


Dr Gail Teachman
Western University

I am excited to add this paper to the growing body of work exploring conceptualizations of 'voice' and their effects. I am particularly interested in exploring how we can advance past notions of 'giving voice' in research with children toward approaches that acknowledge the dialogical nature of research encounters.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Gail Teachman