Digital reading by listening among students who are blind or vision impaired
Start date: 2023-01-01
End date: 2023-12-31
This project is conducted with the Agency for Accessible Media, MTM as a partner and aims to create a research-based understanding of how students with visual impairments in Sweden read by listening, in order to create better opportunities for libraries and educational institutions to support these readers.
For people with print disabilities, i.e. disabilities that make it difficult to read text with the help of the eyes, the societal digitalisation has brought both challenges and opportunities. For example, problems arise when digital services and environments have been designed without consideration of users with print disabilities. At the same time, digital assistive technologies have created better opportunities for people with print disabilities to access a greater range of texts and documents.
There is a lack of basic research that sheds light on accessible reading from a users’ perspective, i.e. as part of everyday life, education, and working life. The project explores the use of digital reading technologies that enable reading by listening, such as talking books, audio books, screen readers, and speech synthesis. The project builds on a study conducted in Australia and will be based on qualitative interviews with students who are blind or vision impaired at Swedish universities.
Theoretically, the project is based on the research tradition called Critical Studies of Reading, where reading is understood and studied as a socially, materially, institutionally, historically, and politically situated practice. Furthermore, the study is based on the social model of disability, according to which disabilities are created when people with impairments (such as visual impairments) are not given the same social conditions as people without disabilities, for example when texts are published in inaccessible formats. The study therefore has as its starting point that disability is an overall social condition in terms of for reading, together with gender, class, linguistic background, educational background, socio-economic conditions, age, societal support, etc.