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Media Use of Persons with Disabilities

Social participation without media is hardly conceivable. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) allocates media as a key for the achievement of full and effective participation within the society. So far reliable data about the media usage of persons with disabilities are missing. This research is supposed to fill this data gap.

The research about the media use of persons with disabilities is carried out by the Department for Motor Development in Rehabilitation and Education (Jun.-Prof. Dr. Ingo Bosse/ Anne Haage) and the Hans-Bredow-Institute of the University of Hamburg (Prof. Dr. Uwe Hasenbrink/ Dr. Sascha Hölig).

In order to conduct the equal access to media the accessibility of media services is focused. So far the user perspective played a small role. The aim of this study is to investigate how persons with disabilities actually use media, what kind of motives and expectations they have and what kind of access barriers to media exist.

For the first time, this research examines meaningful data regarding the media usage habits, motives and expectations for media use of persons with disabilities as well as access barriers to media.

Core area of this research:

For four subgroups a qualitative pilot study provides data about needs and barriers regarding media as well as challenges for accessibility and research instruments. The four subgroups are persons with challenges for learning, hearing, seeing and moving. Next to a secondary analysis of data available and studies, expert interviews with scientists as well as with representatives of self-advocatory associations and of authorities will be carried out. Additionally, a group discussion with representatives of the focused subgroups is planned. This group discussion is supposed to provide a valuation of the quality of accessibility offers, e.g. subtitle and audio description.

The main study is supposed to provide information about the media usage behavior of each subgroup in general as well as specifically their usage of television and moving images. For each subgroup specific research methods will be developed to meet the different abilities and needs of each of these subgroups. Throughout the entire research process experts with disabilities are involved.

Perspectives for concrete measures for the full access of media offers are supposed to emerge from these research results and recommendations of action. The collected data could be used to foster the adjustment of media offers to the needs of persons with disabilities. Accordingly, the results report will contain recommendation for actions to improve the accessibility of media offers.

Project team:

TU Dortmund: Jun. Prof. Dr. Ingo Bosse, Anne Haage, Gudrun Kellermann, Theresa Suntrup
Hans-Bredow-Institute: Prof. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink, Dr. Sascha Hölig, Sebastian Adrian


Project duration:

1. October 2015 unti 30. September 2016


 Medienanstalten (ALM) and  Aktion Mensch