SAGE Journals

Reinforce chapter themes with free access to two journal articles for each chapter and further online readings. Select chapters will also include suggested weblinks.

Journal Article 25.1: Curtis, B. L. (2014) ‘Social networking and online recruiting for HIV research: Ethical challenges’, Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 9(1): 58–70.

Description: Social networking sites and online advertising organizations provide HIV/AIDS researchers access to target populations, often reaching difficult-to-reach populations. However, this benefit to researchers raises many issues for the protections of prospective research participants. Traditional recruitment procedures have involved straightforward transactions between the researchers and prospective participants; online recruitment is a more complex and indirect form of communication involving many parties engaged in the collecting, aggregating, and storing of research participant data. Thus, increased access to online data has challenged the adequacy of current and established procedures for participants' protections, such as informed consent and privacy/confidentiality. Internet-based HIV/AIDS research recruitment and its ethical challenges are described, and research participant safeguards and best practices are outlined.

Journal Article 25.1: Reisner, S. L., Randazzo, R. K., White Hughto, J. M. (2017) Sensitive health topics with underserved patient populations: Methodological considerations for online focus group discussions’, Qualitative Health Research 28(10): 1658–73.

Description: Online focus group discussions provide an anonymous environment to assess sensitive, health-related experiences that may be difficult to discuss utilizing traditional face-to-face modalities, particularly for marginalized populations such as female-to-male trans masculine (TM) transgender individuals. This article reviews the history, advantages, and disadvantages of online focus groups, with an emphasis for research about sensitive issues with stigmatized, rare, and/or geographically dispersed patient populations. The article then evaluates the success of online focus group discussions as a case study using data from four asynchronous online focus groups conducted between September 2015 and February 2016 that explored topics related to sexual health care access with U.S. TM adults (N = 29). The rationale for selecting an asynchronous online methodology is described along with the unique methodological considerations that emerged in developing the study protocol. We conclude by sharing lessons learned, including innovations for maximizing participant engagement and comfort to elicit rich qualitative data.