Accessing Vulnerable Research Populations: An Experience With Gatekeepers of Ethical Approval
International journal of palliative nursing 2011 Jan; 17(1): 14-8
Accessing vulnerable populations for research purposes can be difficult, as participants must be sheltered from research that might be insensitive, intrusive, and potentially distressing. People diagnosed with a life-limiting condition may be vulnerable, and involving such people in research samples may be fraught with difficulties. Nevertheless, it is important that these vulnerable populations participate in health and social-care research so that their requirements and opinions can be learnt. This paper describes an experience of proceeding through an ethical approval process for a proposed qualitative research study into the preferred place of death of a group of potentially vulnerable hospice patients. Research of this nature had never been undertaken at the hospice before, and the researchers expected to encounter a degree and variety of gatekeeping when seeking access to this sensitive population.
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