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NCJ Number: 157656 Find in a Library
Title: Distorting Tendencies in Research on the Homeless
Journal: American Behavioral Scientist  Volume:37  Issue:4  Dated:(February 1994)  Pages:461-475
Author(s): D A Snow; L Anderson; P Koegel
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 15
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper argues that the most common research strategy used to study homeless individuals unwittingly presents a distorted view of the phenomenon it seeks to understand.
Abstract: The distortions that result from such investigations occur along two dimensions. First, the rates of many pathologies among the homeless are likely to be exaggerated in terms of both frequency and severity. Second, both these and other problematic behaviors of the homeless are not understood in the situational context in which they are embedded. In each case, the picture that emerges from such research is truncated and excessively negative. The kind of research the authors propose cannot provide all of the answers to the issue of homelessness, but it does offer several correctives. First, it can help counter the overly pathologized view of the homeless that has prevailed in the research literature since the early 1980's. The alternative line of work often provides a portrait of the homeless that recognizes their strengths of adaptability, resourcefulness, and resilience, as well as contextualizing their more stigmatized behaviors. In attending to and reporting the voices of the homeless themselves, the proposed research is responsive to the desire of the homeless to have a part in their own description. To be homeless is not just to be physically deprived but also socially deprived as well. 4 notes and 35 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Homeless persons; Research design models; Research methods
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