"I'm not on email - am I excluded from your study?" How can new research communications connect with older care-home residents?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


This poster reflects on implications of research with older groups who do not engage with the Internet and forms of technology now considered commonplace in society despite evidence of a persisting “digital divide” in the information society (Gaved 2011). Groups partially or completely excluded from the Internet include those who live in social housing, are disabled, have long-term health conditions or are aged >55 (Yates, Kirby and Lockley 2015, 159). Our RReACH (Residents Research-Active in Care Homes) study findings challenge assumptions that technology governs most peoples’ lives and therefore potentially also research. Of the six RReACH collaborators – five older people (two community-based and three living in care homes) and one extra-care housing facility manager – just one had access to and used digital technology. A methodology tied to digital technology would have excluded five of our RReACH collaborators. Instead our research methods were flexibly attuned to each collaborator’s preferred methods of communication and engagement. Embracing inclusive methodologies and interactions with collaborators and participants in gerontological research is specifically problematised here because access to technology can decrease as people age and as inequalities in use persist (Yates et al. 2015, 159). Engaging with technological innovations here entailed investigating their use within the context of building mutual understanding to assess and, where required, to adapt the application of technologies in participative or inclusive research with marginalised groups, otherwise risking further exclusion by technological innovations in research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2016


  • qualitative research
  • Technological change

Cite this