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Title: The development of an online tool to facilitate collection of video data in British Sign Language (BSL) : principles, process and implications for Deaf people's engagement with research and service development
Author: Belk, Rachel
ISNI:       0000 0005 0289 771X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2018
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Introduction: Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) face multiple barriers to accessing services, including the interpreted communication of complex information. Signed languages have different grammar and syntax from English and take full advantage of their visual modality through the inter-relationship of signs. Previous research identified the need for Deaf people's contribution to service development and research. However, there are challenges to facilitating this, including that Deaf BSL users in the UK are geographically widely dispersed and researchers ideally need to be Deaf or at least fluent BSL users themselves to allow the detail of culture and communication to be conveyed: interpretation of data from one language into another for the researcher's benefit risks losing crucial richness and nuance from a participant's contribution. Purpose: To develop a means of Deaf people's autonomous participation in data generation using the vehicle of a putative data collection tool concerning access to and use of genetic counselling (a 'use case' approach). Through that process, to engender a generative approach to the identification and collection of terminology in BSL in this field of interest. Methods: A literature review across medical, educational, Deaf studies, linguistic and information technology fields informed the subsequent consultation with information technology (IT) specialists across the University. Several different technologies theoretically capable of capturing video data, necessary to record signed language input, were explored. The information content for the use case was developed from previous information resources and from an acted scenario filmed specifically for the study. The tool was then developed using two proprietary pieces of software (Selectsurvey questionnaire development software and the University's version of a user-generated content site: the video library server (VLS)) and a video capture application in Flash available as freeware which was modified to meet the requirements of a visual-spatial language. The three software components were linked together using bespoke Javascript and Java coding to create an integrated outward-facing website for the user, capable of capturing video data as streamed files direct to a secure server for later download by a researcher. Results: This study determined the essential features of an online data capture tool; incorporated the features into a theoretical use case aimed at collecting context-rich and in-depth data from which a technical specification could be drawn; identified the available technologies with the capacity to realise such a tool; and built, tested and piloted the tool to evidence its feasibility. Conclusions: The resulting tool has the capacity to present information in BSL and English and enables participants to respond asynchronously, remotely and securely in BSL via webcam, or using spoken or written English. The IT technologies used are changing fast, but there are principles underpinning such a tool that can be carried forward to future software dedicated to presenting and capturing video data, generally and also specifically in signed languages.
Supervisor: Young, Alys Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: online methods ; digital methods ; genetic counselling ; Deaf