Researching vulnerable participants: The role of critical reflexivity in overcoming methodological challenges

Publication Name

International Journal of Market Research


In this paper, we critically reflect on the methodological challenges encountered during a qualitative research project that examined the effectiveness of the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). We draw on Lewis and Mehmet’s (2021) approach that combines aspects of autoethnography and reflexivity to focus on three key areas, inclusive research, informed consent, and recruitment, which we have considered in terms of mistrust and the roles of the gatekeeper. This paper contributes to our understanding of researching vulnerable and marginalised populations and highlights learnings for marketers as they seek to identify how to adequately capture the voices of the often voiceless. Key implications include acknowledging vulnerability as a multi-dimensional concept, adopting a continual reflective approach, selecting appropriate channels of communication, and considering team dynamics before and during research implementation. By showcasing our learning experiences, we guide other market researchers who are interested in exploring similarly marginalised or vulnerable groups.

Open Access Status

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