The Ethics of Conducting Community-Engaged Homelessness Research

This paper focuses on some of the ethical issues which may arise when conducting research in the context of homelessness. These issues are considered from the viewpoints of researchers, research coordinators and interviewers, drawing from their extensive real world experience. In addition to negotiating the complex context of homelessness, community-based homelessness researchers need to address a number of ethical issues in research conception, design, implementation and dissemination. Although these issues are commonly considered in community-engaged research, research with people who are homeless may raise exceptional challenges. Such challenges include determining the nature of informed consent; protecting research participants and researchers, and determining appropriate compensation for participation. Understanding the context of homelessness to conduct ethical research will require sharing information and joint decision-making, processes that must include members of communities within which the research participants live. Furthermore, researchers should be sensitive to the changing context of homelessness, and vigilant for new ethical challenges.

The Ethics of Conducting Community-Engaged Homelessness Research was published by the Journal of Academic Ethics in 2009 (Vol. 7: pages 57–68).

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Journal of Academic Ethics