Loader, Beth (2010)
M.Res. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Aims: To identify and evaluate effective interview methods for accessing disabled children’s views on spirituality. To explore disabled children’s theories of spirituality with regards to relational consciousness. To explore ethical issues which arise when working with disabled children. Background: Biological theories suggested by Hardy (1965) and Hay and Nye (2006) propose that spirituality is innate to humans. Research conducted into children’s spirituality by Hay and Nye (2006) identified a specific feature of spirituality called ‘relational consciousness’ which gives a basis from which to investigate spirituality. Researchers have investigated various types of interviews when working with disabled children. However, research has concentrated on education, health and welfare and has overlooked spirituality. Method: Four different interview methods: puppets, vignettes, diamond ranking and statement ranking were used to interview a group of six disabled children aged between 7 and 14 years old to try to access their views on spirituality. The interviews were linked to two specific themes of spirituality: connectedness and transcendence. The children were explained their ethic rights and involved in the ethical decision making process. Results: Analysis of the interview techniques found that some interview methods: puppets and statement ranking were more suited to interviewing disabled children about spirituality compared to vignettes and diamond ranking. Thematic analysis of the interviews found that all the children expressed spirituality connected to the two themes under investigation. Conclusion: Spirituality seems to be an under researched topic especially with regards to disabled children. The children in this study all expressed relational consciousness as described by Hay and Nye (2006) and their own unique spirituality. Some interview methods worked better than others but more research is needed to see if this is due to the method or the abstract nature of spirituality.
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