Doing Research on Sensitive Topics

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This book is a comprehensive guide to the methodological, ethical and practical issues involved in undertaking research on sensitive topics. Raymond M Lee explores the reasons why social research may be politically or socially contentious: its relation to issues of social or political power; its capacity to encroach on people's lives; and its potentially problematic nature for the researcher. Issues examined include: the choice of methodologies for sensitive research; problems of estimating the size of hidden populations; questions of sampling, surveying and interviewing; and sensitivity in access and the handling of data. The book also discusses the political and ethical issues at stake in the relations between the researcher and the researched, and in the disclosure, dissemination and publication of research.