Delving into the Unknown: An experience of doing research with d/Deaf prisoners

Kelly-Corless, Laura orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4712-5850 (2020) Delving into the Unknown: An experience of doing research with d/Deaf prisoners. Qualitative Inquiry, 26 (3-4). pp. 355-368. ISSN 1077-8004

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This article acts as a reflexive account of my experience of doing qualitative research with d/Deaf people in a prison setting. This research was the first in England and Wales (excluding small-scale unpublished undergraduate dissertations) to include semi-structured interviews with multiple d/Deaf prisoners, and thus the journey documented is both innovative and unique. Because I was entering unmarked territory methodologically, my experience was laden with obstacles, as is discussed throughout. Key issues explored relate firstly to the process of gaining access to d/Deaf prisoners, secondly to researcher-participant language barriers, and thirdly to issues of ethics and authenticity generated by the Deaf participants’ preference for a visual language (British Sign Language) in a setting like prison. Guidance is given throughout about how to overcome complex methodological issues, and concluding remarks include a set of recommendations for prospective researchers.

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