[nfbwatlk] Research participation request

Frye, Daniel Daniel.Frye at ed.gov
Thu Jun 2 16:40:16 UTC 2011


As promised, and despite my initial reservations about the euphemism for blindness that you employ in your study, I have completed this survey. I must confide that I have never participated in such a patronizing, biased, and presumptuous questionnaire in my life. I am confident, Allyson, that you have embarked upon your academic career with the intention of positively influencing the world in which you and others live, but I need you to understand that the judgments inherent in the questions you asked about blindness reflect an attitude about the absence of vision that, no matter what you do, and unless the questions are substantially changed, will cause the blind community considerable harm.

The questions in your survey are clearly the product of a social conditioning that has taught you and others to anticipate that blind people feel awful about not seeing. To be sure, some blind people (particularly the newly blind) grieve when they lose vision, but in general blindness is not perceived by most who are blind as a tragedy. Most well-adjusted blind people will acknowledge that certain aspects of blindness are inconvenient, but few of us would subscribe to the depressing assumptions that are suggested by the questions in this survey. I don't know what your study endeavors to achieve, but even the most positive answers to a survey with such leading questions, promises only to affirm the lowest expectations for adjustment to blindness and will give credence to beliefs that many of us hoped were long gone. One stereotype strongly suggested by this survey is that a substantial correlation between blindness and reliance on religion as a coping mechanism may exist. I cannot tell you how troublesome this assumption is on so many levels.

I urge your advisor to evaluate further the harmful nature of these survey questions for scientific efficacy, academic integrity, and compliance with ethical standards to avoid doing significant harm to the study participants in your survey. I worry that some people who voluntarily participate in this survey will buy into the negative assumptions that your questions suggest are inherent in blindness. At a minimum, this survey needs to be modified to narrow the potential target of blind people you want to hear from, since many of your questions suggest that blindness is a new experience. Equally important is the need to revise the questions to take into account the diversity of visual acuity that exists by including a Not Applicable option for many of the questions that presume the existence of some sight.

At present, the only reason I can think of wanting to take drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism is to forget the questions in this study and not to cope with the hell that this survey presumes blindness must be. If it would be useful, I'd be pleased to review the questions with you in detail to help you identify the specifics of my concern. This offer is about as constructive as I can offer to be with respect to this survey at this stage. In the absence of a comment form in your survey, I thought the foregoing should be considered.

Daniel B. Frye, J.D.
Management and Program Specialist 
Randolph-Sheppard Programs
U.S. Department of Education 
Office of Special Education 
and Rehabilitative Services 
Rehabilitation Services Administration 
550 12th Street, SW, Room 5023 
Washington, DC  20202-2800 
(202) 245-7308 office 
(202) 245-7591 fax
(410) 241-7006 mobile
daniel.frye at ed.gov

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Ally Matt
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 3:43 PM
To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Research participation request


Dear Listserv member,


            I am a doctoral student at Purdue University, and I am working on my doctoral dissertation project under the direction of my advisor, Dr.
Heather L. Servaty-Seib (servaty at purdue.edu). My study is focused on gathering information from people who have experienced a vision-related disability and who are between the ages of 18 and 64 years of age. I hope to gather information about the ways people with vision-related disabilities cope with their disability and how these methods of coping may relate to people's ability to perform basic daily activities, sense of overall
satisfaction with their life, and interaction with the broader community.   


            For the purposes of this study, I am looking for people who have experienced a vision-related disability. This means that you have a vision-related disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities including caring for yourself, performing manual tasks, seeing, learning, reading, or working, that there is a record of your vision-related disability, or other people perceive you as having a vision-related disability.


            If you would like to participate in this important work, please click on the link below or paste the link into your web browser to be taken to the survey. The survey will only take 20-30 minutes of your time, and you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a $25 Audible.com gift card with 1 in 100 odds. 


Survey link



Thank you for considering participating in this study.

Allyson Matt

Doctoral student, Counseling psychology

Purdue University

ally.matt0 at gmail.com     


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