In health research, we depend heavily on the goodwill of study participants. However, the whole social contract of health research is based on the premise that everyone comes to the research table with honorable intentions. What course should we take if we doubt the authenticity of our participants accounts? Through the use of an illustrative case study, this paper will explore three different ways of thinking about (and handling) implausible narratives.


Reliability, Validity, Trustworthiness, Self-report, Lies, Qualitative, and Community-Based Participatory Research


I want to express my gratitude to the entire Positive Youth Project team– especially the youth who shared themselves and their stories. Many thanks to Harvey Skinner and Jeffery Aguinaldo for their valuable feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Funds for this research were m a de possible by a grant from The Ontario HIV Treatment Network.

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