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Workplace Experiences Survey

Foley, Susan PhD
Project title: 
Working It Out Together: Women with Disabilities and Employment
Project Number: 
Tool type: 
Tool class: 
Nonengineering tool
Disability targeted: 
No specific disability
Study target: 
Women with disabilities currently in or recently out of the workforce
Study purpose or goal: 
Find out about experiences with career development, mentoring and peer support, and attitudes and feelings of women with disabilities in the workforce
Who administers this tool?: 
Survey subjects
Ease of use: 
Time to complete: 
~10 minutes on average. Those with mobility, cognitive, or learning disabilities may have take up to 1 hour
Equipment required: 
None, though the survey was offered in alternative formats
Sensitive issues: 
While there are no sensitive issues per se, some participants may have found the issues raised to be sensitive
Are any approvals required?: 
The survey received Children’s Hospital’s IRB approval and Umass/Boston IRB approval.
How is it administered?: 
The survey was designed to be filled out independently by respondents. Potential respondents requested a survey to be or were invited to participate online
What is the scope or what areas does it cover?: 
The survey is not disability specific but does addresses gender issues
Development background: 
The Workplace Experiences Survey was developed as part of a larger project on issues faced by women with disabilities in the workplace. It is used by women with disabilities who are currently in the workforce to record their experiences with career development, mentoring and peer support, and attitudes and feelings in the workplace. Research and development of the Workplaces Experience Survey included literature and database review in ERIC, Psychlit, Business literature, as well as general Internet searches.
Development methodology: 
The questions were developed out of the original research question, previous research in the field
Outside consultation: 
Consultations were also made with staff members, a consulting advisory board tailored to the research, and external contacts
Consumer input: 
Survey questions were also developed using a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach using focus groups of and interviews with women with disabilities who were in the workforce
Data analysis: 
Is in process
Difficulty in recruiting participants
Data analyses were underway at the time of the interview. The project uses descriptive bivariate statistics and plans multivariate statistical analysis at a later time. A large body of the data is to be descriptive to capture the population.
Analyses can focus on disability, marital status, profession, etc. The data is specific to women with disabilities in the workplace, but could be compared to similar data for men. While there are no limitations to the instrument itself, the researchers found it difficult to recruit a wide cross-section of participants
Data collected and analyzed will most likely be used by advocacy organizations, employment programs, and researchers in employment. Women with disabilities are a population with a different workplace experience or that people with disabilities are defined by many characteristics including gender. The research may encourage more dialogue between disability studies and gender studies.
Impact of these findings on the field: 
The project has already received data requests from other countries. The Workplace Experiences Survey was designed to record the experiences of women with disabilities in the workplace. It is not disability specific, therefore could be applied to any disability group. However, it does address some specific gender issues which may not fit the experiences of men in the workplace.
Peer review status: 
Who uses the collected data?: 
Advocates, employment programs, researchers
Tool contact: 
Susan Foley, PhD