People with intellectual disability and human science research: A systematic review of phenomenological studies using interviews for data collection

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This paper presents the findings from a systematic review which investigated the use of phenomenological research interviews in studies involving people with intellectual disability. A search of four electronic databases and the subsequent application of inclusion criteria resulted in 28 relevant publications. Selected articles were reviewed and key data extracted using CASP guidelines, with findings presented by examining the influencing philosophy or theory, the method of recruitment and data collection, the relationship between researcher and participants, the rigour of data analysis and finally a statement of findings. The results show people with mild and moderate intellectual disability, included as participants in phenomenological research investigating a range of issues that are important in their lives. A critical discussion focuses on the main characteristics of phenomenology and points to implications for further research. Creating awareness of research among people with intellectual disability is important, and finding the best way to ensure findings are disseminated in accessible formats is recommended. Researchers are also challenged to consider Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology as a method with the potential to fully explore the experiences of people with intellectual disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-465
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Early online date29 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015



  • Intellectual disability
  • Interview
  • Phenomenological research

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