Strategies for Gaining Access to Robbers: The Importance of Identity, Rapport, and Commitment Acts

Arthur Vasquez 1 * , Alejandro Rodriguez 2

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp. 168-188

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Researching hard-to-reach populations that are criminally active is difficult. Gaining access to these populations is essential to the success of the project, however, strategies to obtain access can involve navigating through complex and dangerous situations. Prior research has identified a range of factors that can influence the ability of researchers to gain access to offenders. Qualitative projects that encompass obtaining information from individuals mandate researchers to consider from whom they need to gain information, and how to appeal to the individuals. This relationship building is facilitated by strategies of gaining access that aid not only the recruitment of participants but also increase the quality of interactions and data collection. In this paper, we examine the importance of identity, rapport, and commitment acts in relationship building to gain access to active offenders in fieldwork. This contribution offers examples in which researchers can negotiate the difficulties in gaining access.

Keywords: Qualitative, gaining access, identity, rapport, commitment acts.