What does it mean to do research on
sensitive topics with vulnerable
research participants in diverse
6 word memoirs
Research vulnerability is
Everyone is vulnerable in research involving people,
their stories, their lives. Sharing information
diminishes privacy for participants or those they
report about. Research teams hear things that can be
upsetting. As a result of sharing data in research,
parents can be deported, children can re-live a
traumatic experience, or communities can be
stigmatized. Researchers can prevent harm and
humanize health disparities through careful, pre-
thought, collaborative research designs.
Teaching: Going to new heights
Tequila – Grandfathers’ cure
Just be careful
I enjoyed being part of this class. Appreciate
the opportunity that all of you provided me
to learn about your projects and the issues
around vulnerable populations. You
provided me great learning which I plan to
apply in my Nurse Education role. Also,
Hilda, thanks for teaching me about
Jamaican cures. We all come from different
backgrounds, yet we all share a common
culture. Thanks and best of luck in your
You don’t know what you’ll find!
Did your parents give you away as a child to because
they were not able to afford taking care of you? Were
you sucked into a cult as a teenager and married
against your will to someone who could be your
father? Did you feel like you life was not getting
anywhere and that no one cared about your life, or
your future ? All of these are truly things that happen,
and if they have not happened to you, it certainly
happens in some parts of the world. This is why
research with vulnerable populations is so essential. I
certainly don't want to make light of your experiences.
be respected in research.
Research in general and that involving vulnerable
population in specific is important in uncovering
vital unstudied concerns. Respect is a vital
element in the research process. The extent to
which both research and respect are incorporated
influences the quality of research and its sequels.
An important aspect of respect of vulnerable
research subjects is the respect for difference.
Moving forward, look to the
Past atrocities that have been made through research
and/or by researchers should not be repeated. The
goal of research should be to help people. In
particular, researchers who conduct health-related
research are in a position where they can have a
positive impact on the population they are
researching, even if it is on a small scale. The future is
now. It is marvelous to have the knowledge to shape
the future of research for the betterment of
At some point
All are vulnerable
Vulnerability is relative and has many facets. All
participants in research can be vulnerable, even the
researcher. As researchers who work with
marginalized and underserved populations, we must
be aware of our working environment and take steps
to protect ourselves physically but also emotionally.
Vulnerability can create barriers
Vulnerable populations are often excluded from
research because of complex entrée and fear of
working with marginalized groups. Exposing
vulnerability in research, and handling it gently, will
soften its edges. It is a moral imperative that
researchers access those who are vulnerable and give
It takes more effort. Worth it.
Research with vulnerable populations takes more
effort and care in virtually every stage. By putting
forth the extra effort, however, the researcher gives a
voice to persons who otherwise may not have one,
and brings their thoughts, struggles, and concerns to
light. Be that voice.
Never shy away from a challenge.
Research with diverse or vulnerable populations
can sometimes present additional challenges that
can be a deterrent to some. Allow yourself to
follow your passion regardless of the challenges.
Be the person to push past those challenges and
make contributions to improve someone’s quality
Thank you from all of us
and let us know what is
your 6 word memoir!