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Researching Sex Work in the Online Age: A Qualitative Approach

By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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This case study examines the utility of adopting a qualitative approach when researching sex work in the online domain. Although the study takes male sex work as its focus, several of the issues herein are worthy of consideration when researching alternative groups working in the online sex industry (e.g. female and transgender sex workers). Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were carried out to provide a broader and nuanced picture of the male sex industry in Melbourne, Australia, in an attempt to capture the complexity of participants' experience at the intersection of work, gender, sexuality and identity. A range of learning outcomes can be observed from the process, particularly around barriers and incentives to participation, and the need to devise an appropriate and non-stigmatising interview schedule that is receptive to participants' desires for confidentiality and anonymity, while taking into consideration some of the limitations associated with face-to-face interview data.

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