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"On the outside looking in" : reflections on working with vulnerable populations and with challenging topics
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Marie-Therese ProctorMarie-Therese Proctor
Undertaking qualitative research within vulnerable populations presents challenges and opportunities for exploring how to sensitively gather information ethically, effectively, and responsibly. It affords remarkable opportunities to explore/examine sensitive, difficult and emotive human experiences in situ, akin to opening a window to let the sun shine into a darken room. This “illuminating” process can significantly aid health care professionals working with vulnerable persons. Dealing with sensitive topics has its own challenges. Combining a vulnerable population and a sensitive topic requires the researcher demonstrate patience, compassion, a capacity to connect with another inside their story and an underlying willingness to sit with their and sometimes one’s own discomfort.