I recently completed a research study for a new client, during the course of which I had my first official entirely illiterate respondent. He was up front and honest about it and had been thoughtful enough to bring along a helper to assist him with the confidentiality agreement and paperwork he knew he would be expected to sign.
I am confident that I have had respondents who are not literate in past groups–some known to me and some who flew under the radar, but this was the first time I had been made aware and made the conscious decision to include that person in our group. As my client said when I confirmed with her, “We have all types of customers, and we care about all of their experiences.”
This man contributed to the group with honesty and openness, and we all benefited tremendously from his participation.
At the end of that day, I was haunted by the unheard voices of so many potential participants. It made me wonder who we haven’t heard from when we screen so carefully for articulation, higher incomes, and higher education and what they have to say on so many topics and what else we might discover during their participation?