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'NEW AGE' TRAVELLERS, URBAN SLUM DWELLERS, ABORIGINES AND DRUG USERS: EXPERIENCES OF COLLECTING SENSITIVE DATA FROM MARGINALISED COMMUNITIES

Zoe Matthews and Richard Velleman
BMS: Bulletin of Sociological Methodology / Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique
No. 57 (December, 1997), pp. 65-85
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24359813
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
'NEW AGE' TRAVELLERS, URBAN SLUM DWELLERS, ABORIGINES AND DRUG USERS: EXPERIENCES OF COLLECTING SENSITIVE DATA FROM MARGINALISED COMMUNITIES
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Abstract

Cet articles réunit des thèmes communs d'expériences de collecte de données dans deux recherches en cours. Ces projets veulent accroitre la compréhension des comportements et des attitudes dans des communautés marginalisées et touchent des problèmes sensibles: l'un concernant la santé sexuelle (Voyageurs "New Age" dans les sud-ouest de l'Angleterre) et l'autre des expériences de familles de toxicomanes ou d'alcooliques (comparaison d'Aborigènes en Australie, d'habitants de bidonvilles de Mexico et d'habitants du sub-ouest de l'Angleterre). L'hostilité de certains membres de ces communautés envers le projet de recherche a focalisé notre attention sur de méthodes plus adaptées de collecte de données et sur l'utilisation de chercheurs introduits dans la communauté: ceci montre aussi bien un point fort de l'étude qu'un point critiqué. L'article décrit la méthode de collecte des données pour chacune des études. comprenant la sélection de l'échantillon. les instruments, et la composition de l'équipe de recherche. Une comparaison des expériences des membres des équipes est aussi présentée. Quoique la situation géographique de ces études varie beaucoup, les problémes de collecte de données montrent des similarités méthodologiques qui peuvent étre importantes pour d'autres chercheurs dans des circonstances analogues. This paper draws together common themes from the experience of data collection in two current studies. These research projects have aimed to increase understanding of behaviour and attitudes within marginalised communities and have all dealt with sensitive issues; one with sexual health (of 'new age' travellers in south-west Britain) and the other with the experience of families within which drug and alcohol problem exist (comparing aborigines in Australia, the urban poor of Mexico City and problem drug and alcohol users in South West Britain). The hostility of some community members to the research process has focused attention on the most appropriate methods of data collection, and the issue of using insider researchers has been raised both as a strength of study designs, and also as a problem area. The paper describes the methods of data collection for these studies, including sample selection, instruments, and composition of research team. A comparison of the experiences of the respective research workers is also presented, in the context of the cultural environments of the three study populations. Although the settings for these studies are geographically diverse, the problems of data collection experienced have shown some methodological common ground which may be valuable for other researchers working with excluded populations whose culture may be antithetical to being researched.

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