Methods Collections

Enabling those with speech, language, and communication needs to have a voice in research

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Methods Collections
Enabling those with speech, language, and communication needs to have a voice in research

Guest Editor
Sam Harding

North Bristol NHS Trust

Sam Harding is a Doctor of health psychology and holds Masters in both Psychological Research Methods and Medical...

Collection Overview

The term “speech, language and communication needs” (SLCN) is often used in relation to children and/or young people who have difficulty with certain aspects of communication. Nevertheless, these difficulties can also be present in the adult population and may often be referred to as “aphasia”.  This difficulty may be minor and temporary or more complex and long term. The term “needs” refers both to the needs of the child or person in question as well as what society can do to support them. This collection of projects is focused on gathering insights into methodologies that are both acceptable and can be used with people that have SLCN.  These needs may arise from congenital disorders, be acquired through accidents or disease, or arise from an unknown origin. 

The perspectives of those with SLCN (regarding the equipment and services they receive from healthcare providers in order to inform improvement) historically has been seen as difficult to obtain, with services and researchers citing the fact that people find communication to be challenging.  There is, however, a growing emphasis on the importance of actively engaging patients in evaluating and developing healthcare as well as being represented in research.

Traditional social science methods of gathering data from people include (1) questionnaires, (2) surveys, (3) focus groups, and (4) interviews. Some individuals with SLCN will be able to engage in these methods, but others (for reasons of type, nature or severity of the condition) will not. This engagement with people with SLCN may necessitate new ways of work.