Engaging women who are homeless in community-based research using emerging qualitative data collection techniques

In 2007, a community-university partnership involving a large inner-city homeless shelter coordinated the study, Home: Perspectives of women who are homeless. The primary objective was to explore the meaning of home among women who are homeless in order to inform the development of transitional shelters. The theoretical framework was feminist informed community-based research (CBR). In addition to qualitative interviewing, multiple qualitative data collection methods were utilised, some of which may be considered emerging approaches, including digital storytelling, creative writing, photovoice and design charrette. Here, we review the application of emerging research data collection methods individually and collectively in meeting the major goal of the research study. We raise challenges with each of these data collection methods, but suggest that these techniques engage participants in research which aims to more fully understand and give voice to their experiences. Multiple data collection methods that engage participants in different ways may be suitable for other vulnerable groups as well in public health, clinical practice, or health education settings.

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International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches