- Supervisors & managers
- Premia - making research education accessible
- Supervising disabled researchers - Premia
- Understanding disability in the context of research
Understanding disability in the context of research
Postgraduate researchers come from different social, economic and academic backgrounds. These factors may influence their research choices and development, and hence their relationship with their supervisor. The role of a supervisor is to relate to the unique person in front of them who possesses particular knowledge, experience, skills and insights. Part of being an effective supervisor is to identify and be responsive to the individual needs of postgraduate researchers and to tailor supervision accordingly.
This applies equally with postgraduate researchers who might appear to share other characteristics or labels. It is important to recognise that disabled postgraduate researchers are not homogeneous groups. Nor is their identity defined by their disability. The impact of a students' impairment, learning difference and/or long term health condition on their research is not quantifiable; there are no definitive answers and what constitutes a reasonable adjustment will vary.
If disabled postgraduate researchers feel comfortable to discuss aspects of their research study which will be problematic, then they are the best advisers. They will be able to confirm the issues and can explore reasonable adjustments with disability advisers, technical assessors and the supervision team. Some postgraduate researchers may ask for no adjustments, as their strategies for managing their learning may be well-developed and adaptable to the research process. It is important not to make assumptions and ensure that the postgraduate researchers are included in any discussions regarding their requirements and adjustments.