Understanding autism
Understanding autism

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Understanding autism

3.2 Doing research well

Facilitating effective autism research is not just a question of funding the right areas; it is also about how the research is done and who gets to participate. Scientific approaches such as cognitive psychology and neuroscience traditionally follow a model in which one group of people (research specialists in the field) carry out tests and gather information from another group of people (the participants).

But there has been a growing call for autistic people to play a more integrated role (Pellicano and Stears, 2011). One leading Canadian research team, headed by Professor Laurent Mottron, has been following this approach for some years, with Michelle Dawson, an autistic person, as a research team member. Dr Anna Remington, Director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education, University College London, leads on several initiatives to ensure that autistic people inform the CRAE research activities not just as participants, but in other roles (Zeliadt, 2017).

Of course, doing research this way is not straightforward. For instance, autistic people may need to accept certain research findings which do not fit with their own personal experience. Mutual respect, trust and candid dialogue between team members is an important part of making such a process viable.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371