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Conducting research about sensitive subjects: The case of homeless youth [Dirigiendo la investigación acerca de asuntos sensibles: el caso de la juventud sin casa ni hogar]

Keywords: Homeless , ethical issues , youth

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Abstract:

There is growing interest and importance in addressing the logistical and ethical challenges of conducting research with disenfranchised populations, including homeless and working street youth. Drawing upon established international standards on human rights, we review legal and ethical codes for research on disenfranchised populations established by national and international research and professional organizations. Then we explore how university-based researchers can apply these standards to children and adolescents growing up in situations characterized by physical and psycho- logical neglect, lack of adult supervision, limited protection from local law enforcement, and drug use and violence. We reflect upon on our experi- ences in conducting research with vulnerable Brazilian youth to illustrate the challenges of implementing ethical guidelines in real-world situations and propose possible solutions to ethical dilemmas encountered in the field.

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