chapter  9
18 Pages

Getting good data from people that do bad things: effective methods and techniques for conducting research with hard-to-reach and hidden populations

WithRic Curtis

This chapter outlines several problems that are inherent in conducting research with hard-to-reach or hidden populations, including locating the population(s) of interest, recruiting them into research, eliciting accurate and credible information from them and assessing the veracity of their accounts. Each of these problems is examined using examples from research conducted by the author to discuss where our ideas about the nature and severity of the problem are accurate, and where they are not, and suggestions for addressing some of the problems based on previous experiences are offered. One conclusion that can be drawn from the various examples provided in the chapter is that social science has already developed many data collection tools that can be successfully employed, but many of the problems that researchers face in conducting research with these populations stem from our own preconceived ideas about what is possible.