Ethical Considerations

Ethical considerations are definitely a huge issue within my research interest. When dealing with the homeless population, not only are the vulnerable because they are homeless (which comes with a huge stigma attached to this label), but many are homeless due to mental health, addictions, and due to many other situations that make them an extremely vulnerable population. In Dean Sharpe’s presentation, he said that vulnerability can be classified as the following: physiological (health crisis, service dependence), cognitive/emotional (recent trauma, etc.), and social (stigma). Evidently, the homeless population carries many of these vulnerabilities. This being said, I definitely think I would have to run my research through a Research Ethics Board in order to receive the go ahead. 

In order to alleviate the possible foreseeable risk, questions in a survey would need to be very carefully structured, and would need to be open-ended which would allow the human subjects to discuss what they would like to discuss, rather than probing them on sensitive issues. 

The distribution of benefits would have to be something considered for my research interest, as it would be particularly difficult to gain access, and consent from this population. 

I also think knowing the homeless population and their barriers extremely well would be necessary before attempting to begin this research project.

Victoria Grant 


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One response to “Ethical Considerations

  1. Hey Victoria,

    I agree that the vulnerability of the homeless creates problems with regards to research that might use them as a sample group. I was wondering do you think there might be any confounding issues surrounding a subjects willingness to help, and their expectation of some form of compensation? How would you deal with a subject that agrees to participate in exchange for food, or ttc tokens. I am guessing that there will have to be a foundation of trust that is fostered with the subject before they are willing to answer questions that might make them feel exposed. Would building a relationship with a subject interfere with the research, if the subject tries to answer questions in a way that will help your research and not how they actually feel.

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