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Keywords:

  • homeless youths;
  • qualitative research;
  • ethics;
  • nursing;
  • adolescents

Background. There is a need for increased guidance for the ethical conduct of qualitative research with vulnerable populations such as homeless youths.

Aim. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the main ethical challenges of conducting qualitative research with homeless youths and to propose possible solutions to these challenges.

Methods. This paper was informed by a review of professional guidelines for the ethical conduct of adolescent health research, national (US) and international bioethics bibliographical searches, and personal experience with qualitative research with homeless youths.

Findings. The main ethical challenges of conducting qualitative research with homeless youths include establishing and maintaining healthy researcher roles and boundaries, addressing the risks of researcher burn-out and safety issues, assuring optimal confidentiality, and avoiding sensationalism and voyeurism.

Conclusion. It is important for qualitative researchers who work with vulnerable populations to ensure that research is conducted in the most ethical way possible.