The silences framework: Method for research of sensitive themes and marginalized health perspectives

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Objective: to describe the experience of applying of The Silences Framework to underpin health research investigating Tuberculosis/ HIV/AIDS coinfection. Method: the Silences Framework originally developed following a study exploring the decisions and silences surrounding black Caribbean men living in England, discussing the themes ‘sexual health’ and ‘ethnicity’. Following this study, a conceptual theory for research on sensitive issues and health care of marginalized populations was developed called ‘Screaming Silences’, which forms the foundation of The Silences Framework. ‘Screaming Silences’ define research areas and experiences that are poorly studied, little understood or silenced. Results: the Silences Framework supports researchers in revealing “silences” in the subjects they study - as such, results may reflect how beliefs, values, and experiences of some groups influence their health. This framework provides the application of four complementary stages: working the silences, hearing silences, voicing silences and working with the silences. The analysis occurs cyclically and can be repeated as long as the silences inherent in a study are not revealed. Conclusion: this article presents The Silences Framework and the application of the notion of “sounds of silence”, mapping an antiessentialist theoretical framework for its use in sensitive research in health and nursing areas, being a reference for other researchers in studies involving marginalized populations.




Rossetto, M., Brand, É. M., Teixeira, L. B., de Oliveira, D. L. L. C., & Serrant, L. (2017). The silences framework: Method for research of sensitive themes and marginalized health perspectives. Texto e Contexto Enfermagem, 26(4).

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