Student projects

  • The University of Iceland has a webpage dedicated to the program and courses available in Disability studies at UI.


  • Student's thesis papers can be accessed by visiting Skemman database.

Students discuss their research and thesis

Students discuss Work-Life-Study balance

Doctoral student projects


Disabled Women and Violence: Access to Justice

Doctoral student: Eliona Gjecaj 

Supervisor: Professor Emerita Rannveig Traustadóttir, University of Iceland

Co-Supervisor: Professor Anna Lawson, Leeds University, UK


This research focuses on violence against disabled women in Iceland and UK. It aims to gain in-depth knowledge through exploring the lived experiences of disabled women in the context of detection, investigation, and prosecution of violence.

This interdisciplinary research employs a human rights perspective in combining disability studies, gender studies and disability law and policy to gain a comprehensive and holistic view of the topic under study. In-depth qualitative interviews will be conducted with self-identified disabled women and professionals who come in contact with disabled women who have experienced violence (e.g., rights protection officers, lawyers, police, judges, and others within the justice system).

Analysis of court documents, laws, policies and international human rights treaties will also be conducted.

The findings will be published in academic and non-academic forums and will, furthermore, form the basis for practical recommendations to empower and enhance the voices of disabled women in gaining access to justice.


Life quality and participation of disabled children

Doctoral student: Linda Björk Ólafsdóttir

Supervisor: Snæfríður Þóra Egilson, University of Iceland

The research aims to explore life quality and participation of disabled children and youth in Iceland. A sequential mixed-methods design is applied, and critical disability studies used as a theoretical lens to better understand how the children’s environment influences their life quality and participation.

First, two instruments; KIDSCREEN-27 and PEM-CY, were used to map how the children themselves evaluate different aspects of their life quality and how parents evaluate their children’s life quality and participation in different contexts. Also, data was gathered from non-disabled children and their parents for comparisons. This data provided important overview over how disabled children are doing at home, at school and in other social contexts.

In the second part of the study, interviews were conducted with children on the autism spectrum. Additionally, observations with a selected number of children took place within their homes, schools, and communities. During these visits, close attention was paid to which factors in the environment supported or restricted the children’s participation. Furthermore, the perspective of parents, teachers and other stakeholders were included.

The overall findings will help us to better understand the concepts of life quality and participation, how they interact and what they mean to disabled children and their families. Also, the results may help to improve the way in which services and support are provided to disabled children and youth, and their families.

The research project was funded by The Doctoral Grants of The University of Iceland Research Found and the Icelandic Research Fund (no. 174299-051).



Disabled children, families and services in Iceland: Bridging the gap between theory and practice

Doctoral student: Jóna Guðbjörg Ingólfsdóttir

Supervisor: Rannveig Traustadóttir, University of Iceland

The research project investigates the mismatch between policy ideals and the provision of services aimed at families with young disabled children in Iceland. The study is conducted within the field of disability studies and employs a qualitative multi-case and theory-led methodology. According to the case study method a variety of data was obtained including semi-structured in-depth individual interviews with parents and professionals, focus-group interviews with in-service specialists, participant observations and document reviews.

The findings are presented in four journal articles. Overall, the parents praised the preschools for welcoming their children and for good interpersonal relationships, but reported other services to be fragmented, inflexible, and burdensome. 

Several components of the services were consistently regarded as hard to reach, disconnected from the daily routine of both children and parents, and provided more on the terms of the professionals or the system than the families.

The presented implications for service development are based on a conceptual understanding of relational and partnership practices. To this end the cultural-historical activity theory and Edwards’ three relational concepts “the gardening tools” are used as a theoretical framework.