Can You Ask That Over the Telephone? Conducting Sensitive or Controversial Research Using Random-Digit Dialing
Busch, N. Bridget
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 2006 March; 25(1): 59-81
Social science, medical, and legal researchers often study sensitive or controversial topics and behaviors. This research raises methodological and ethical issues. Using examples from the literature and a recent statewide telephone prevalence survey on sexual assault, we focus on the relative merits of various survey methods, especially those employing new technologies; developing instrumentation that includes explicit behavioral questions; obtaining an appropriate sample in a cost efficient way; gaining informed consent and inquiring about sensitive topics while protecting participants from harm or retraumatization; presenting findings in a way that does not further stigmatize participants; and responding to the media.
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