Lahman, Maria K.

Committee Member

Merchant, William

Committee Member

Larkins, Randy J.

Committee Member

Weil, Joyce


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Applied Statistics and Research Methods


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



166 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The purpose of this study was to: (a) gain a methodological understanding of hidden population sampling techniques and to offer insight into which approach is best suited for a given researcher’s sample; and (b) to provide increased methodological understanding of how to best research hidden populations like the homeless by providing researchers, social care providers, and governing bodies with detailed guidelines for their work with the homeless. Regardless of the method, hidden and homeless populations are hard to find, understand, and approach with cultural responsiveness (Roche, et al. in Lahman, 2017). Using a critical theoretical approach to the research, this study actively applied the role of reflexivity as a methodology. This study considered the voices of persons experiencing homelessness, homeless population researches, and social care providers as experts in the field, terming them stakeholders in the research. Data consisted of 20 in-depth interviews with stakeholders, observational data collection from a national point-in-time survey, and reflexivity data. A thematic analysis was conducted with an overlay of reflexive analysis to add context of the researcher’s role in the sampling, data collection, and analysis. Methodological findings such as (1) homeless is not a singular population, (2) culture defined by setting and regulation of research location, and that (3) selection bias is real were found. Ethical considerations such as (1) researcher is most likely your least important role, (2) researchers must know resources to support vulnerability of sample, and (3) self-care for providers and researchers were found. Furthermore, findings involving reflexivity and the importance of the method to help generalize data from homeless populations are found. Implications of the findings from this study are presented in the form of guidelines for researchers to use and to provide to people experiencing homelessness. Keywords: hidden populations, hard-to-reach populations, homeless populations, homelessness, critical theory, reflexivity, sampling methods, sampling bias

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Copyright is held by the author.