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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter will reflect upon the perception of disability portrayed and perpetuated through the language employed on the web pages of all nine Welsh universities, through a Critical Disability Studies lens (Goodley, 2017). The method of Qualitative Content Analysis (Schreier, 2012) enables 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, accessibility and elements considered relevant for discussion and highlighting relating to disabled students’ experiences. This is envisioned as a pilot exploration which could be developed and significantly informed through further engagement with the expertise and lived experienced of disabled applicants who could further enrich this theoretical research with their phenomenological insight. The potential erasure of disabled students’ presence and insights on these websites is considered from a testimonial injustice perspective (Fricker, 2007). Further, the epistemic invalidation (Wendell, 1996) of disabled students’ experiences is considered and evidenced. This study proposes some feasible revisions to these university web pages that could challenge a deficit-based interpretation of disability, portraying an increasingly affirmative stance towards disability. 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge’s Interdisciplinary Disability Studies Series: Discussing Disability: Critical Reflections on How We Talk To, Through and About Disability
EditorsMichael Jeffress
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Oct 2019


  • disability
  • university
  • website


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