Conducting safe research with at-risk populations: Design strategies from a study with unauthorized migrant women experiencing intimate abuse

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By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Social science research with vulnerable populations is necessary in order to address social and health problems among those in most need; yet, this research is fraught with inherent risks to its participants. Using the recent experience of conducting a study of Mexican immigrant women’s experience of intimate partner violence and help-seeking, the authors describe strategies used to prevent harm to participants. For this community of women, participation in research has the potential to expose them to physical, psychological, economic, and legal harm. Safety protocols are discussed in the areas of recruitment, interviewing, data management, and the report of findings. These foremost strategies inform the safe design of research with other similarly at-risk populations.

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