The State of the Science in Universal Design: Emerging Research and Developments

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) in Universal Design

Author(s): Roger O. Smith

Pp: 31-46 (16)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805063511001010031

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, designers, and people with disabilities all need to know when universal design works and when it does not. We need outcomes and evidence of design success for best practice. Unfortunately, we are not well prepared to create and report evidence, so we must master methods and strategies to collect, document, aggregate and report good and bad design features to create an evidentiary database. This chapter surveys the growing field of evidence-based practice and highlights its implications to universal design with a discussion around specific issues around acquiring evidence particular to universal design interventions. For example, by definition, universal design aims to create environments and products that work for everybody regardless of ability or disability. This challenges the collection of evidence since the most reliable traditional methods to elicit evidence are population specific. Chapter content highlights a history of evidence-based practice and related disciplines, presents types of evidence lists resources for more in-depth discovery around evidence-based practice, and explains specific evidence acquisition and reporting methodologies. In addition, the chapter presents a discussion emerging out of evidence-based practice around the potential contributions of single-subject design methodology, aggregate evidence databases and their potential as mechanisms to acquire and use evidence to advance universal design and its implementation.

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