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Ethnography and homelessness research

Hoolachan, Jennifer ORCID: 2015. Ethnography and homelessness research. European Journal of Housing Policy 16 (1) , pp. 31-49. 10.1080/14616718.2015.1076625

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Papers dedicated solely to research methods are rare within housing studies. This is despite the importance of ensuring methodological rigour within studies that may go on to influence further research, practice and policy. Likewise ethnographic housing research is relatively uncommon even though this approach captures data at a greater level of depth than other methods. Building upon the work of prominent housing researchers who advocate the use of ethnography, this paper highlights the benefits of this approach for housing and homelessness studies, as well as discussing some of its challenges. An overview of ethnography is given to outline its origins; theoretical influences; benefits and challenges in relation to homelessness research. A study that focused on the drug and alcohol behaviours of young, homeless people in Scotland is then introduced. Drawing on this study, a reflexive account of researcher bias and self-disclosure is presented along with consideration of the processes involved in building trust and obtaining informed consent in ethnography. The paper argues the case for this method within housing research and, further, considers the value of ethnography as an approach in the context of growing interest in the lived experiences of people in relation to housing.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnography, housing, homeless, method, qualitative
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1461-6718
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 October 2016
Date of Acceptance: 23 July 2015
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 02:07

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