What are Welsh Universities’ Websites Telling Disabled Applicants About their Interpretation of Disability?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


This presentation will reflect upon the portrayal of disability perpetuated through the content situated on the websites of all nine Welsh universities’ Disability Service pages, through a Critical Disability Studies lens (Goodley, 2017). The method of Qualitative Content Analysis (Schreier, 2012) enabled consideration of multiple components including use of language, terminology and photography, as well as discussion of academic, cultural, social and logistical aspects of student life. The development of a concept-driven coding frame enabled consideration of the absence of certain criteria as well as the frequency and prominence of others. The ensuing discussion considers the potential influence of semantic choices, layout and accessibility on the recruitment, retention and discourse around disabled students in Higher Education. Findings include the potential erasure of disabled students’ presence and insights on these websites, considered from a testimonial injustice perspective (Fricker, 2007). Further, the epistemic invalidation (Wendell, 1996) of disabled students’ experiences is evidenced in the language and information that is privileged in the sources. This study introduces alternative conceptualisations of disability, drawing from contemporary sources and reports which could challenge a deficit-based interpretation of disability (Eide and Eide, 2011; EY, 2019), enabling consideration of an increasingly affirmative understanding of diversity in Higher Education. Whether provision at each university mirrors the position of each web page requires further research, and the potential reasoning for the language choices adopted in spite of some examples of good practice will be critically considered.


Eide, B. L. and Eide, F. F. (2011), The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain, London: Hay House.

EY (2019), ‘The Value of Dyslexia Report: Dyslexic Strengths and the Changing World of Work’ [Online], Available at http://madebydyslexia.org/assets/downloads/EY-the-value-of-dyslexia.pdf, (Accessed 8th September 2019).

Fricker, M. (2007), Epistemic Injustice: Power and Ethics of Knowing (2010 Edn), New York: Oxford University Press

Goodley, D. (2017), Disability Studies: An Interdisciplinary Introduction (2nd Edn), London: Sage.

Schreier, M. (2012), Qualitative Content Analysis in Practice, London: SAGE

Wendell, S. (1996), The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability, New York, NY: Routledge

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2020
EventNational Teaching Fellows / CATE Symposium 2020: 2020: A Decade of Change? - Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Mar 20206 Mar 2020


ConferenceNational Teaching Fellows / CATE Symposium 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • disability
  • qualitative
  • perception
  • portrayal
  • qualitative content analysis
  • higher education


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