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Mapping voluntary sector services for hidden or hard-to-reach populations: challenges and practice-based lessons for future research

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Mapping the availability of voluntary services to a niche, potentially ‘hidden’ population can be a complex endeavour. This practice paper focuses on a mapping study of military-based voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland, discusses the practical challenges involved, suggests improvements to existing research practice and offers methodological guidance for others who are considering undertaking a scoping review with organisations dedicated to hidden and/or hard-to-reach populations.
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Keywords: hidden populations; methodology; scoping reviews; voluntary sector

Document Type: Editorial

Affiliations: 1: Ulster University, UK 2: Queen’s University Belfast, UK

Publication date: March 2020

This article was made available online on January 22, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Mapping voluntary sector services for hidden or hard-to-reach populations: challenges and practice-based lessons for future research".

More about this publication?
  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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