I’m doing a PhD at UCL Institute of Education looking at how sign language interpreting support is provided to Deaf students studying at university, and the experiences of Deaf students and interpreters.
The results I’m sharing here are the first part of my study. We all know Deaf students often have a lot of difficulties at university and our research project is looking at their sign language interpreting support.
There’s currently very little information about how interpreting support is provided and how Deaf students feel about their interpreting support. Therefore, the first part of this project was an information-gathering activity and we want to share some of the initial results.
Much of what we’ve found probably won’t surprise you, but we needed to collect the evidence to then move forward.
This project is focussing on Deaf students who are studying at university now, who are in their 1st or 2nd year of a BA or BSc course, who use sign language interpreters or CSWs, and have interpreting support funded by Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA).
In June/July 2018, Deaf students were asked to complete an online survey. There’s too much information to explain all the results here, so we’ve selected to tell you about information and advice, and interpreting support. We’re writing a detailed report to share later.
We’ve also made some suggestions as to why the results may show something, but we need to look in more detail and the next step is to use case studies where we will ask a group of Deaf students for more information about their interpreting support.
A Freedom of Information request was made to the three funding bodies (Student Finance England, The Students Awards Agency Scotland, and The Education Authority Northern Ireland) to find out how many Deaf students were in their 1st or 2nd year and have DSA funding for interpreting support in the academic year 17/18.
Unfortunately, the information provided by these bodies does not allow us to calculate an exact number, but we believe there are fewer than 59 Deaf students with agreed funding for interpreting support. In this research study 14 Deaf students agreed to participate, so around 25% of the Deaf student group, which is an excellent response rate for studies of this type. We have 7 male and 7 female students. All of the students are studying full-time and all use sign language interpreters (none use CSWs).