Online research methodologies may serve as an important mechanism for population-focused data collection in social work research. Online surveys have become increasingly prevalent in research inquiries with young people and have been acknowledged for their potential in investigating understudied and marginalized populations and subpopulations, permitting increased access to communities that tend to be less visible- and thus often less studied-in offline contexts. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) young people are a socially stigmatized, yet digitally active, youth population whose participation in online surveys has been previously addressed in the literature. Many of the opportunities and challenges of online survey research identified with LGBTQ youths may be highly relevant to other populations of marginalized and hard-to-access young people, who are likely present in significant numbers in the online environment (for example, ethnoracialized youths and low-income youths). In this article, the utility of online survey methods with marginalized young people is discussed, and recommendations for social work research are provided.
McInroy, L. B. (2016). Pitfalls, potentials, and ethics of online survey research: LGBTQ and other marginalized and hard-to-access youths. Social Work Research, 40(2), 83–93. https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svw005