Community research with Gypsies and Travellers in the UK: Highlighting and negotiating compromises to reliability and validity

Philip Brown, Lisa Scullion, Pat Niner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


- To consider particular issues of, and threats to, reliability and validity in community research

- To explore community research in a politicised context

- To highlight the importance of mutual understanding between the researcher and the community interviewer throughout the research process and the implications for reliability and validity

- To look at strategies for working with members of excluded groups within community research

This chapter explores issues around achieving reliability and validity in the context of policy-oriented community research with Gypsies and Travellers in England (Brown and Scullion, 2010).

Gypsies and Travellers are acknowledged as one of the most socially excluded groups in England (CRE, 2006). After a number of years of policy inertia on Gypsy and Traveller issues which illuminated a significant shortage of culturally-specific accommodation, the Housing Act 2004 heralded a new, more pro-active approach to meeting accommodation needs. Local authorities were given the duty to assess the accommodation needs, preferences and aspirations of Gypsies and Travellers (as they do for the wider population), and to devise housing strategies and local development plans to facilitate meeting those needs. Consequently, research studies, known as Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessments (GTAAs), have been carried out across the whole of England.

Many GTAAs that were carried out over this period directly involved Gypsy and Traveller community members in the research process as project advisors and/or interviewers (Greenfields and Home, 2006; Brown and Scullion, 2010). While some researchers are strong supporters of such community involvement (Greenfields and Home, 2006), Niner (2008) has reported that others are equally strongly opposed.

Bancroft (2005) identifies two broad populations within Gypsy and Traveller communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunity Research for Participation
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Theory to Method
EditorsLisa Goodson , Jenny Phillimore
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781847429421, 9781447308690
ISBN (Print)9781847424365, 9781847424358
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

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