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Global Disability: Research and Evidence

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine via FutureLearn


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Understand why and how to do research in the field of global disability

Around 15% of the world’s population, or one billion people, live with some form of disability. With ageing populations, the global number of people with disabilities will continue to grow over the coming decades. Disability often affects vulnerable groups, and is more common among women, older people, and households that are poor. People with disabilities often have higher health care needs, but may find it difficult to access services. They face a range of exclusions, from employment, education or other aspects of society.

These exclusions are contrary to the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which calls upon all countries to respect and ensure the equal rights and participation of all persons with disabilities to education, health care, employment and inclusion in all aspects of society.

Evidence on disability is needed for a range of reasons - to measure the magnitude, highlight inequalities in access, and evaluate interventions that aim to improve the lives of people with disabilities. This evidence can be used to advocate, inform policy, plan services, and address the exclusions that people with disabilities face.

In this course you will learn from researchers, persons with disabilities and policy makers as we look to enhance our understanding of the importance of evidence, and how research can be conducted, interpreted and used to inform policy and practice.

The target audience are researchers, NGO workers, disability advocates, and health professionals across a range of sectors who have an interest in gathering or interpreting evidence on disability.

No prior experience or qualifications are required; however, we will encourage people with some research experience who want to learn about disability, or people who work in NGOs focussed on disability or DPOs who want to learn about research. We will focus predominantly on research from low and middle income country contexts, however the themes are also applicable to learners from high income countries.


  • Disability and research
    • Welcome
    • Introduction and key concepts
    • Research cycle and research methods
  • Research methods in disability
    • How to measure disability
    • Lived experiences of people with disabilities
    • Determining "what works" for people with disabilities
  • Interpreting research findings and using data
    • Analysing and interpreting data
    • Important considerations in disability research
    • Communicating research findings and getting evidence in to policy

Taught by

Josie Gallo


4.9 rating at FutureLearn based on 57 ratings

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