University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Supervisor

Dr. Janice Miller Polgar

Abstract

In Canada, it is conservatively estimated that $46 million is lost per annum from low vision (LV) assistive technology device (ATD) abandonment alone. The proper matching of the person and the technology during the selection process has been theorized as necessary to mitigate inappropriate abandonment. In the current dissertation, a mixed-methods approach with qualitative and quantitative study components was used to develop and test a LV product selection instrument (LV-PSI) that may help with the matching process.

The key qualitative aspect of the study included two qualitative research sessions with LV participants (N=10). Each session was made up of two data collection modes of a modified nominal group technique and focus group discussions. Content analysis and a grounded theory approach resulted in the emergence of three major themes for LV product selection: (1) product attribute, (2) personal compatibility, and (3) meaning.

Results from the qualitative research were used to generate items and content for the LV-PSI. A testing of the internal consistency (Cronbach’s coefficient alpha) and factor structure of the instrument (principle component analysis) occurred using instrument scores obtained from LV participants (N=152). A four component solution resulted in a 21-item LV-PSI. The four components were theorized as congruent with the factors of: Product (visual) attribute, meaning, independence, and personal compatibility. The alpha values were 0.77, 0.63, 0.63 and 0.59, respectively. Future research to further examine the LV-PSI’s content and construct validity, score interpretations, format and predictive value was proposed.