Abstract

The Lifespan and Disability Project, a 2-year qualitative study, was designed to enhance understanding of social integration by including the perspectives of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Procedures and strategies employed to involve these individuals in the project were documented. Specifically, we describe the use of individual interviews and focus groups (e.g., purpose, rationale, facilitation techniques) to collect data, and verification meetings in which a prompting hierarchy and cueing were employed to assist participants in confirming or disconfirming the researchers' interpretations of the emerging findings. Highlights of the results were presented to illustrate the efficacy of the strategies in enabling the participants with intellectual disabilities to share their perspectives on social integration.

The authors acknowledge the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Status of Disabled Persons Secretariat for funding this project (Grant No. 817-95-0030). The authors also thank the other members of the research team for their contributions to this project: Laurel Strain, Hal Studholme, Maureen Rodrigue, the Community Partners, and research assistants Erika Bockstael, Sandra Goatcher, and Cheryl Martens.

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