Research group Deaf Studies

The Deaf Studies research group carries out research in three main areas:
• Deaf culture
• Didactics of Sign Language of the Netherlands NGT)
• Aspects of interpreting

The aim of the research work carried out by the Research Unit is to contribute to improving quality of life and opening up our society for everyone, but specifically for the hearing impaired.

Applied research

The research conducted by the Deaf Studies research group has an important link to professional practice, both in teaching and other professions. Its work is designed to lead to new insight, which in turn leads to changes in teaching or the role of gestures and sign language in society. One of the goals is to develop best practices in the field of communication among the deaf and hearing-impaired for all kinds of professionals - in healthcare, education and elsewhere. After all, anyone can come into contact with deafness or hearing impairment.

Deaf culture

Diversity is a buzz word these days. It enriches our society if we help people to see that everyone is different. One way to do this is through research. The contribution that deaf people and sign language can offer to our society has received little attention to date, but the ‘Deaf Gain’ study strives to make it more visible.

(Didactics of) Dutch Sign Language

Dutch Sign Language has been studied as a language since the 1980s but only taught since the late 1990s. There remains much to learn about this language and how people learn it as a first, second or foreign language. The knowledge that there is today, needs to be gathered together so that a database of best practices can be created to professionalize teaching staff and those working in the field.

Aspects of interpreting

Sign language interpreters usually work simultaneously in two languages; Dutch and NGT, and sometimes also in a third language such as English. A great deal of practical knowledge has been gathered in the Netherlands, but structured research into the issues that affect the interpreting process is urgently needed. The results of this study contribute to professional practice, to the professionalization of teachers and to the development of theory.

More information


Visiting address:
Padualaan 97
3584 CH Utrecht

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 14007
3508 SB Utrecht

Ellen Enis