The role of the self-advocacy support-worker in UK People First Groups: developing inclusive research

Chapman, Rohhss (2005). The role of the self-advocacy support-worker in UK People First Groups: developing inclusive research. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e8c6

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of self-advocacy support-workers in People First Groups within the UK. The study is undertaken through a process of inclusive research and involves a team of researchers from Carlisle People First.

The research discovered that the self-advocacy support-worker role is ambiguous and contradictory. Current government policy and indications of the early formation of a social movement, suggest the role is likely to be enduring and therefore in need of being called to account.

Support-workers and members, although in agreement with many of the central aims of self-advocacy, were often unaware of the multiple and conflicting requests made upon the support-workers by different individuals and organisations. The study sets out main areas of analysis and scrutiny of the role. The research provides empirical evidence for the possible development of the role based on the perspectives of both advocacy support workers and group members.

The work on developing inclusive research highlights the benefits and problems of a qualitative team approach. The research challenges current assumptions that there are areas of the research cycle too difficult for people with learning difficulties to genuinely participate in. It is argued that methodological rigour need not be compromised and that person-led, team research can indeed improve aspects of validity and reliability.

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