A Silent Minority, unheard and unseen? A reflective account of methodological and linguistic challenges in research with older people ageing with Deafblindness
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With reference to a specific, ongoing doctoral research project on the lived experience of vulnerability among older deafblind people (DBV), this paper aims to present and discuss some of the unique challenges, as well as opportunities, that investigators are likely to encounter when conducting research with older deafblind people, as well as other minority groups. These challenges and opportunities pertain to three separate, yet interconnected, areas: the methodological, the ethical, and the linguistic. The article is in essence a reflective account; it also aims to offer practical advice – as well as points for reflection – to those who are conducting, or plan to conduct, research involving similar cohorts. It concludes that preparedness and self-awareness are essential if we are to faithfully capture and faithfully transmit the voices of groups which are often unseen and unheard. Greater awareness of the communicative needs of deafblind people, especially in the area of pragmatics, will allow researchers to capture their lived experiences more faithfully.