Prompt 4 (p. 173): Rereading
Although I am not finished with my literature review, I re-read the article that I presented to the class last week: “Toward an Accessible Pedagogy: Dis/ability, Multimodality, and Universal Design in the Technical Communication Classroom.” It was a little difficult to find new connections to my own data since I haven’t begun collecting data, but I’ve been trying to imagine how starting to collect data might change my reading of this article. I’m really caught up on how to identify disability in order to study it. My variables of sex and age are relatively easy to guess based on the way a person looks, and asking people to self-identify in these ways is pretty standard–as is asking (in survey form) about disclosing disabilities. However, as Walters points out, observation is another story. It may be hard to analyze the ways that disability affects check-in kiosk usage because I may not know until later if a person using the kiosk as I observed identified as disabled.
In retrospect, I have realized that this is where my one critique of Walters’s article came from. I wanted more information about how she knew the ability status of her students the first day of class; she didn’t provide this information, but presumably collected it in an ethical and legal way. I’d like to know how she did that, as this part of her study is the equivalent of the part I’m having trouble imagining. How can I find out how people identify in this context for the purposes of observation? And, like Walters, I also think it’s important to pay attention to my own social placement. (I used a Wordle, shown below, to look for major themes and found “social” to be one of them.) I identify as temporarily able-bodied; this means I need to take particular care in representing groups that do not identify in this way.