One voice for everyone
Data that provide information about the life situation of people with disabilities are essential information when political decision-making processes have to be made and support the concerns of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In order to compile such data, it is often necessary to conduct surveys. Barrier-free access is of utmost importance here in order to make the life situation and problems of people with disabilities visible.
This pilot project within the Citizen Science Initiative was jointly funded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Research and Science (Bundesministerium für Bildung, Forschung und Wissenschaft (BMBFW) and the ESSL Foundation. In a cooperation of scientific research (NPO Competence Center and ÖPIA) and practice (Statistics Austria and Caritas Vienna), people with intellectual disabilities should actively participate in the research process.
The main research question was: How can people with intellectual disabilities or learning difficulties be included in social statistics surveys on quality of life? The main focus was on the possibility of including this target group in official social statistics surveys. Currently, people with disabilities living in institutions for handicapped people, as well as older people in care and nursing facilities, are excluded from the surveys.
However, inclusion in official statistical surveys also means that a standardised questionnaire, which is made up of the catalogue of characteristics of official statistics, must be used for the survey. If possible, the content of these questions should not or only slightly be changed. Thus, the comprehensibility of such questions becomes the focus of attention. The test was aimed particularly at people with learning difficulties, since it can be assumed that a questionnaire that is understandable for this group is also suitable for other groups of persons with less intellectual limitations. People with intellectual disabilities or learning difficulties were actively involved as experts in a "trial group" within the framework of various workshops. People with intellectual disabilities or learning difficulties were also the target group of twelve pre-test interviews for the questionnaire developed and tested with the trial group. Finally, members of the trial group also conducted peer interviews with people themselves and slipped into the role of the researcher. In this respect, the research project was characterised by a very high level of participation of the disabled people concerned.
The project thus led from the question "if" to the question "how" standardised surveys become barrier-free for people with learning difficulties. Based on the findings, recommendations for barrier-free survey practice were finally derived in a report. However, these recommendations do not exclusively apply to official statistics and might be applied for other areas as well.