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Talking sexuality online: technical, methodological and ethical considerations of online research with sexual minority youth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-155
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number2
Early online date24 Jun 2011
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2011
DatePublished (current) - Mar 2012


While Internet-based tools are gaining currency in social work teaching and practice, social work researchers are tapping into the development of computer-mediated methods for research with dispersed and hard-to-reach populations. This article is a reflective commentary about the opportunities and challenges of using computer-mediated methods in a qualitative inquiry about young people’s (18–26 years) experiences of negotiating lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBQ) identities in Australian workplaces. The research used two Internet-based methods of online interviews and web-based surveys to capture young people’s experiences of disclosing and discussing LGBQ identities in past and current work environments. In this commentary, I outline these methods and explore the technical, methodological and ethical challenges and tensions presented by using online tools in qualitative research. To conclude, I discuss wider applications of computer-mediated communication for social work.

    Research areas

  • computer-mediated communication, online interviewing, sexuality, web-based surveys, young LGBQ people



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