Registration for 2020 PIRL Institute now open. Please use the registration form to register if you would like to attend.
Annual one-week PIRL Institutes brought PIRL members together to learn about inclusive research, and further develop our partnership model. Over the 3 years of the project, there will be 6 one-week institutes, 3 in Canada and 3 in Cameroon. The Institutes will use a blended learning approach consisting of workshops and seminars, supplemented by online sessions and resources.
In addition to the PIRL members, these research institutes will be open to researchers, students, and technology professionals working in fields related to disability inclusive development, particularly in the social sciences.
The institutes are designed such that all participants, including students and postdoctoral researchers, will gain useful research skills on qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research designs in addition to improving their teamwork and leadership skills. Online sessions will be made explicitly accessible following guidelines from WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) to allow for people with disabilities to access materials without difficulties.
There will be an annual project cycle for each the PIRL Institutes. This cycle includes the preparation and development of resources for use in the Institute (4 months), the one-week Institutes, and the development of Follow-up Resources and Institute Proceedings (3-6 months). Over the three years, a large body of tools, resources, and documents will be collected and developed, including videos, audios, and textual materials that will be freely available. Quantitative and qualitative information will be gathered as part of the process of evaluating the PIRL Institutes.
For Year 1 (2019), a five-day Research Institute was held in Toronto, Canada during October 21 to 24, and in Bafoussam, Cameroon from November 18 to 22. These research institutes were open to researchers, students, and technology professionals working in fields related to disability inclusive development from anywhere, especially North America and Africa.
The sessions included both theoretical and practical hands-on sessions during which participants gained useful skills on conducting inclusive research, in addition to having learnt from a pilot study.
The sessions were designed such that all participants, including students and postdoctoral researchers, would have gained useful skills on research methods and theories in addition to improving their teamwork and leadership skills.
The hands-on practical sessions enabled participants to acquire digital literacy and research skills. Those who are not present at the seminars will have access to the online sessions and activities that can be done in their homes and workplaces. Online sessions will be made accessible, following guidelines from WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) to allow for people with disabilities to access materials without difficulties.
A key part of the project was to allow for sharing of resources, success stories, and collaborative online discussions.
Participation was by formal invitation and by application. For those who applied, their registration fee was $250 per person in Canada and 100,000 CFA in Cameroon. This fee was lowered or waived for students, depending on the circumstances.
Participants brought their own laptops and other devices. Computer access was facilitated for those who do not have personal laptops or other devices. We also had examples of accessible technology available on loan for demonstrations.
Institute #1 focused on development of tools, processes, data collection (surveys, interviews and focus groups) and initial analysis.
To ensure that there is common ground, the PIRL developed and conducted a pilot test of an online survey with follow-up interviews and focus groups. The survey, specifically developed for this project, drew from the CHERRIES guidelines (Checklist for Reporting Results of Internet E-Surveys, Eysenbach, 2004) and adapted from the Canadian Internet Use Survey (Individual), as well as the ITU ICT household survey.
Specific questions for all three data collection methods addressed the concerns of this project and were developed based on reviews of the literature and participants’ expertise, for example, how and why participants make choices related to accessibility and inclusion in their research, specifics about the use of ICTs, and barriers experienced, applications that are common (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook). Questions were refined by using cognitive interviews during Institute #1.
Evaluation of the Institute: We used online and paper questionnaires to collect information about participants’ knowledge before and after and will include all topics discussed during the Institute as well as participant observation strategies. The results of the questionnaire will be evaluated and shared. Qualitative information will also be done with participants to gain a better understanding of the impact of the institute. We would anticipate that the Institute will lead to a marked improvement in knowledge on inclusive research and ICTs.
Participants were asked to rank the workshop in the following domains: quality of the sessions, quality of the practical exercises, quality of the reading and resource materials, the pace of the course, and the amount of subject material covered. Results will lead to a peer reviewed article.