La Trobe

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Recruiting stigmatised populations and managing negative commentary via social media: a case study of recruiting older LGBTI research participants in Australia

journal contribution
posted on 27.05.2021, 07:48 by Andrea WalingAndrea Waling, Anthony LyonsAnthony Lyons, Beatrice AlbaBeatrice Alba, Victor Minichiello, Catherine Barrett, M Hughes, K Fredriksen-Goldsen
In this paper we explore methodological considerations for recruiting stigmatised populations online. Advertising for research participants via social networking sites (SNS) has increasingly become a tool of choice for both quantitative and qualitative researchers. However, such recruitment practices pose a range of challenges for researchers, especially in handling negative commentary such as trolling and its potential negative impact on prospective research participants. Using a case study involving a project on the health and well-being of older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Australia, we outline the types of commentary we received on our advertising campaign, as well as our strategies for managing such commentary. We seek to offer ways in which researchers working with stigmatised populations, as well as controversial issues that may attract hostile attention, can effectively manage participant recruitment as researchers increasingly utilise online technologies for recruitment advertising.


This research was funded by the Australian Research Council under grant number [LP160100221].


Publication Date



International Journal of Social Research Methodology




Taylor & Francis



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