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Undertaking Sensitive Research in the Health and Social Sciences


  • 2 tables
  • Page extent: 168 pages
  • Size: 234 x 156 mm
  • Weight: 0.29 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521718233)

Undertaking qualitative research on sensitive topics often raises a variety of ethical problems. Based on empirical research, this book documents experiences throughout the entire research process: from conceptualization, ethics approval, fieldwork, to analysis and publication. It presents readers with stories from the researcher's perspective and synthesizes these experiences into a conceptual framework that will assist researchers to undertake qualitative research. Each section discusses potential pitfalls, provides quotes and stories and reviews the relevant literature and theory, providing readers with a description of the process of conducting sensitive research from the perspective of those actually doing the research. This is not a methodology textbook, rather, it discusses the issues faced by researchers during the conduct of qualitative research on sensitive topics, such as death and dying, sexuality, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, cancer. It provides practical recommendations for researchers and Research Ethics Committees. It will also be a useful resource for anyone interested in undertaking a research project on sensitive topics and for those teaching qualitative methods across a broad range of disciplines.

• Tutorial activities provide opportunities for readers to extend their knowledge and examine the practical applications of research • Suggested reading for students provides students with a range of resources that they can access to enhance their understanding • Written in accessible language so that they key concepts are easy to understand


Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. What is sensitive research?; 2. Doing sensitive research - methodological, theoretical, ethical and moral perspectives; 3. Conducting sensitive research; 4. Boundaries; 5. Emotions; 6. Risks and ethics; 7. Implications and recommendations for researchers; References; Index.


'Discussion of the impact on the researcher of carrying out sensitive research has been muted. This volume certainly fills the void and is one which I would recommend to all researchers about to embark on a qualitative project - whether the subject is of an overtly 'sensitive' nature or not. … an extensively referenced, enjoyable, engaging and informative text and should be on the bookshelves of all qualitative researchers - and, especially, supervisors.' Sociology of Health & Illness

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