Garbutt, Ruth and Seymour, J. (1998) ‘Do we all get a PhD?' Attempting emancipatory research relating to disability in an academic environment. Relating to disability in an academic environment. In: British Sociological Association annual conference 1998, Making Sense of the Body, April 1998, Edinburgh, UK.

Within the model of emancipatory research, the researcher is situated as one member of a
team. They are often conceptualised as providing methodological tools and skills to others
involved in the research project but the definition of topic, data analysis and dissemination is
presented as a joint enterprise. This model of research (deliberately) contradicts with the
view of the expert researcher prevalent within higher education establishments and
particularly with the individualised construction of research degrees such as PhDs which
requires a thesis to be the exclusive product of one individual. The paper discusses attempts
which have been made to reconcile the tensions inherent in adopting an emancipatory model
within an academic environment including our own experiences of researching and
supervising a doctoral thesis on citizenship and disability. The project is led by an advisory
panel of disabled people who are involved in the preparation, selection and analysis of the
interviews and pragmatic aspects of attempting such an emancipatory model of research from
the viewpoint of the entire research team. It raises the question as to whether such models
can only be completely adhered to in particular, probably non-academic settings.

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