Often, vulnerable individuals and groups are overlooked or considered too ‘difficult’ to include in research studies. But their absence from research and policy-making, regarding issues that directly affect them, contributes to their continued vulnerability and marginalisation in society.
Including audiences in vulnerable situations not only promotes democracy and inclusivity, but also holds the potential for transformative research outcomes.
These are our top 10 research best practices
They are informed by our experience working on numerous projects with people with vulnerabilities, our key principles that guide our work and are inspired by the best practice guides published by the Market Research Society and the Social Research Association.
Before you go on to think about including people with vulnerabilities into your next research study, go through this list and make sure you’ve covered these key points.
If you want to discuss your project in detail, get in touch and we’ll get to work.
- Have you obtained informed consent from participants with vulnerabilities and ensured their understanding of the research purpose and potential risks?
- Are you taking adequate measures to safeguard sensitive personal data, and protect the confidentiality and anonymity of participants with vulnerabilities?
- Have you made a conscious effort to include a diverse range of participants with vulnerabilities in your research, considering factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, disability, neurodiversity, socioeconomic status, and other characteristics?
- Are you using appropriate methods to identify and recruit participants from groups with vulnerabilities?
- Are you providing alternative formats or accommodations (such as accessible digital platforms, large print materials, or language interpreters) to ensure equal access to your research?
- Have you taken the time to understand the cultural nuances and social dynamics that may influence the perspectives and behaviours of audiences with vulnerabilities?
- Are you prioritising the well-being of participants with vulnerabilities in your research?
- Have you considered the potential long-term impact of your research on participants, researchers and relevant social groups?
- Are you actively seeking feedback from participants with vulnerabilities, support groups or community stakeholders throughout the research process?
- Are you taking steps to ensure that the knowledge gained from your research contributes to positive outcomes and helps address the needs of participants with vulnerabilities?
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