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Disability Studies

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Research Tip: Evaluating Articles in Disability Studies

Note that not all writing about disability is informed by a Disability Studies perspective. Here are some questions to ask that can help you evaluate sources:

Author's Positionality

  • What is the author’s background, relationship to disability studies?
  • Does the author self-identify as disabled? In what other ways does the author self-identify (e.g., in terms of gender, race, ability, nationality, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.)? How might these identities impact the author’s perspective and approach?
  • Does the author primarily employ a particular model of disability (e.g., the medical model, or the social model)?


  • What is the author's central claim or argument?
  • What are the author's supporting arguments?
  • What evidence does the author provide to support/prove their thesis?


  • What method(s) does the author use in collecting and analyzing data? (e.g., qualitative or quantitative, ethnographic methods, content analysis, media studies, etc.)?
  • How do the author’s chosen methods impact their approach to the subject matter?


  • What does the author hope to achieve with the piece? What is the purpose of the work?

— adapted from course materials created by Disability Studies instructors Carl Schottmiller and Christine Gottlieb