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