This article explores methodological and ethical challenges and complexities in negotiating access with gatekeepers in research that examines Turkish perpetrators’ engagement in domestic violence interventions in the UK. This research presents the examples and conceptual information about the process of working with gatekeepers based on the sensitive research topic. This paper draws on the first author’s own experiences and the emotional impact of undertaking such sensitive research where community leaders held patriarchal beliefs. It also argues that there are challenges in building trust and rapport with gatekeepers which are related to gender power relations; stigmatisation in the community; ideologies around masculinity and patriarchy. Based on the experience of accessing hard-to-reach participants while undertaking a doctoral study, this paper discusses issues that arise when negotiating with gatekeepers to access study participants. The paper contributes to debates about gatekeepers by discussing the benefits of ethical considerations and of implementing reflexivity and field notes in the gatekeeping process.


Access, Gatekeepers, Negotiation, Power, Reflexivity

Author Bio(s)

Zeynep Turhan, MSW, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Social Work at Bartin University in Turkey. Her studies focus on research and theory of violent and abusive behaviour in family settings, specifically on improving strategies and approaches in domestic violence perpetrator interventions. Her research interests include intersectionality theory, black and minority ethnic men’s experiences in domestic violence perpetrator interventions and behavioural change processes. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: zturh001@gold.ac.uk.

Claudia Bernard, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is also Head of Postgraduate Research. Her general interests lie in the areas of social work with children and families, gender-based violence, critical race theory, equalities, and social justice. She has also developed an interest in research ethics. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: c.bernard@gold.ac.uk.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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