Power, Participation, Payment and Platform: Ethical and MethodologicalIssues in Recruitment in Qualitative Domestic Abuse Research

Kirsty Mcgregor, Bethan Taylor, Lisa Oakley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper presents a critical reflection of pertinent methodological and ethical issues associated with qualitative research on domestic abuse, and synthesises existing models of research to provide ethical, practical, and methodological implications.

Methods: Drawing on the combined research and front-line experience of the authors it explores four critical areas: power, participation, payment, and platform.

Results: Current practices sometimes lack transparency and may perpetuate marginalisation in studies of some with lived experience of domestic violence and abuse which can be considered symbolic violence. There lacks consistency in participant payment, or research on participants’ perceptions of payment. The final section addresses challenges of including perpetrators as participants, highlighting the learning that could occur as a result of inclusion, noting the associated risks of perceived collusion or endorsement of harmful behaviour.
Conclusions: This paper contributes to scholarship regarding domestic abuse research through exploration of participation, remuneration, and the unique complexities of domestic abuse perpetrator involvement. We foreground the importance of articulating and managing power dynamics in domestic abuse research, and suggest measures to ensure such dynamics are mitigated successfully to ensure participation is accessible to all. The paper argues for further consideration of payment protocols, and inclusion of the decision-making process in published research. Further it recognises perpetrator exclusion from research can result in victim/survivors being held responsible for raising awareness and developing knowledge of domestic abuse, consequently researchers should consider perpetrator participation where possible. The paper concludes with recommendations for those engaged in domestic violence and abuse research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1041
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Domestic Violence and Abuse
  • Ethics
  • Methodology
  • Power
  • Participation
  • Payment


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