This article presents a sequence of reflexive observations based on my experiences as a lone researcher, conducting sensitive qualitative research with vulnerable adult male prisoners who were convicted of sexual offences. The data collection process was imbued with intrapersonal and inter-subjective challenges, including rapport building with participants, negotiating with gatekeepers, care for vulnerable participants and dealing with the emotional dissonance emanating from the management of unsolicited disclosures. The closed nature of the institution, security processes, hierarchical relations and aspects of the prisoner culture increased the complexity of the research process. It is argued that researching vulnerable groups in sensitive locations is replete with ethical and interpersonal tensions. Given that other researchers conducting sensitive research with hard to reach populations may encounter similar issues, this paper aims to capture in detail some of the difficulties and presents the main points of learning from the experience.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Ethics and Social Welfare|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jul 2020|
- Older prisoners
- peer care
- qualitative research
- prison research