Methodological challenges confronting researchers of wheeled mobility aids and other assistive technologies.
PURPOSE: To identify gaps in assistive technology (AT) research and solutions, with a focus on wheeled mobility. METHODS: Literature review. RESULTS: AT researchers have identified a need to move beyond determining whether a device works well in the laboratory or is perceived favorably by users. The vital next step in AT research is to determine the effects of AT when used for day-to-day activities by typical consumers. Four challenges affect AT research on everyday mobility: (1) the heterogeneity of the population using AT, the environments in which AT is used, and the devices themselves; (2) the dependency of empirical research on objective data for valid causal inference; (3) the need for detailed information to capture the interaction between the person, the device, and the environment in which it is used; and (4) the extent to which success or failure of AT is dependent on the personal perspectives of the individual using the device. These challenges are being addressed by AT researchers through use of new measures, novel data collection methods, and by linking quantitative with qualitative data. CONCLUSIONS: AT researchers are adapting traditional research designs and analytic methods to examine that effects of AT on everyday life.
Hoenig, H; Giacobbi, P; Levy, CE
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