- Supervisors & managers
- Premia - making research education accessible
- Supervising disabled researchers - Premia
- How can the language of research be a barrier?
- Subject specific language
Subject specific language
While it is essential that all researchers have a good understanding of generic terms and concepts, there is a need to create opportunities for subject specific language acquisition. The follow quotes highlight the different experiences of disabled postgraduate researchers in managing language.
‘There is an expectation that everyone will grasp the meaning of research language immediately. From day one, lecturers talk in the language of research and it has been assumed that I would understand without any guidance. And I didn't.’Masters by research student with dyslexia
‘I have used the same two interpreters for three years really so they know what I'm talking about. They've been through the process with me. I feel that's important.’Postgraduate researcher who is deaf
‘My problem with studying is ... mainly due to the language barrier which exists for those deaf people with a smaller vocabulary than hearing people. Making people aware when I mishear or don't understand what they are saying is usually the only way to get past this problem, along with noting words and phrases down and learning them for future reference.’Postgraduate researcher who is deaf
‘I had a big issue round the language of research. Especially in our first year, this is something we talked about quite a lot. And again that was nice because 5 or 6 of us first year students (shared an office) and this is one we all felt completely lost with.’PhD student with dyslexia
‘It has been better recently...I've been lucky in that I get an award from a ... company. There are two youngish people ... who I meet up with in this company once a month or so. They go through my project with me because it is in the company's interest and they have given me ideas and helped me to develop research skills and my project was developed with their help. Having discussed it with them I have gradually built up some more technical knowledge and language so can understand my supervisor a bit more now.’Postgraduate researcher who is deaf
There are students who struggle to grasp technical words because we sometimes fail to define what we mean and do not always make it possible for them to ask. To ensure that there are not researchers slipping through the net, it would be a good idea to put together a subject specific glossary, to make it available electronically and to signpost researchers to it.