Online research with chil­dren with and with­out an intel­lec­tu­al disability

Kather­ine Ellis, Uni­ver­si­ty of Surrey


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The pan­dem­ic has meant that face-to-face research with spe­cial pop­u­la­tions is not viable and there remains uncer­tain­ty as to when direct assess­ments with these under­rep­re­sent­ed groups can restart. Our research team has embarked on apply­ing our pre­vi­ous face-to-face pro­to­col, which includes eye-track­ing, cog­ni­tive and behav­iour­al assess­ments, to online meth­ods with neu­rotyp­i­cal chil­dren, and chil­dren with genet­ic syn­dromes and intel­lec­tu­al disability. 

I will dis­cuss our expe­ri­ences of mov­ing research online and work­ing with care­givers to sup­port data col­lec­tion with their child over a video-link. I will focus on the ben­e­fits and chal­lenges of online research, out­lin­ing tech­niques on how to col­lect online data from groups that are tra­di­tion­al­ly dif­fi­cult to include in research more broad­ly. I will com­pare the qual­i­ty of the data and find­ings with pre­vi­ous­ly col­lect­ed face-to-face data from the same groups. 

Online research reduces bur­den for fam­i­lies with addi­tion­al needs by reduc­ing trav­el and enabling greater flex­i­bil­i­ty. It also enables researchers to reach a greater num­ber of peo­ple from rare and/or dif­fi­cult to reach groups. How­ev­er, we need to con­sid­er these ben­e­fits rel­a­tive to the integri­ty of the data. This work will con­tribute to cost/benefit analy­ses on when to apply online tech­niques in spe­cial pop­u­la­tions in the future.

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Online research with chil­dren with and with­out an intel­lec­tu­al disability