Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Frederic S. Lee and Bruce Cronin

Despite the important critiques of the mainstream offered by heterodox economics, the dominant method remains econometrics. This major new Handbook provides an invaluable introduction to a range of alternative research methods better suited for analysing the social data prominent in heterodox research projects, including survey, historical, ethnographic, experimental, and mixed approaches, together with factor, cluster, complex, and social network analytics. Introductions to each method are complemented by descriptions of applications in practice.

Chapter 18: Studying low-income households: challenges and issues

Lynne Chester

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought, methodology of economics, post-keynesian economics, radical and feminist economics, research methods, research methods in economics


Studying low-income households poses a number of methodological issues. Nevertheless, there are a number of measures which a researcher can take to access ‘hard to reach’ low-income households using reliable and valid data collection instruments. Drawing on a study which investigated the impacts of rising energy prices on low-income Australian households, this chapter discusses the suitability of a mixed methods approach to study low-income households along with the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen data collection methods of an online survey, focus groups and interviews. Observations are made about the use of intermediaries to recruit low-income households, the potential barriers to participation, the impact on the conduct of research by ethics committee requirements, the use of participation rewards, and the need for a research design which takes all these issues and more into account.

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