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Researching men who pay for sex: Using online methods for recruiting and interviewing

Hammond, N (2018) Researching men who pay for sex: Using online methods for recruiting and interviewing. Methodological Innovations, 11 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 2059-7991

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The use of online tools for recruitment and data collection are increasingly offering researchers access to hard to reach groups, and providing data about sensitive topics that were previously inaccessible to the research community. In this article, drawing on the experience of researching men who pay for sex with female sex workers in the United Kingdom, I explore the complexities of conducting online research, arguing that online research is indeed a valuable research tool, but that it should not be seen as the ‘easy’ option. This article outlines my rationale for using online methods and how traditional interview and recruitment practices and ethical issues were altered by this approach. A discussion of transformations in space and time follows. Finally, I reflect on how engaging with certain methods can reveal insights into the practices of those we research.

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