Deaf Qualitative Health Research: Leveraging Technology to Conduct Linguistically and Sociopolitically Appropriate Methods of Inquiry

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Communication | Communication Sciences and Disorders | Community-Based Research | Health Information Technology | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies


One of the most understudied health disparity populations in the United States is the Deaf community-a sociolinguistic minority group of at least 500,000 individuals who communicate using American Sign Language. Research within this population is lacking, in part, due to researchers' use of methodologies that are inaccessible to Deaf sign language users. Traditional qualitative methods were developed to collect and analyze participants' spoken language. There is, therefore, a paradigm shift that must occur to move from an auditory data schema to one that prioritizes the collection and analysis of visual data. To effectively navigate this shift when working with Deaf sign language users, there are unique linguistic and sociopolitical considerations that should be taken into account. The current article explores these considerations and outlines an emerging method of conducting qualitative analysis that, we argue, has the potential to enhance qualitative researchers' work regardless of the population of focus.


USA, cultural competence, deaf, health disparities, participatory action research, qualitative research, social equality

DOI of Published Version



Qual Health Res. 2018 Sep;28(11):1813-1824. doi: 10.1177/1049732318779050. Epub 2018 Jun 11. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Qualitative health research

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID