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 hidden and/or hard to reach populations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
operational outreach and efficacy.The Forces in Mind Trust, a charity founded by the Big Lottery Fund,awarded Ulster University a grant to support the development of such a knowledge base. For the purposes of this practice paper we focus on the scoping element of the academic study. Policy makers and academics have long been aware that certain ‘hidden’ populations are often hard to locate and pose a range of methodological challenges (Atkinson and Flint, 2001). In our experience, the same may be said about those VCS organisations set up to support hidden populations.This paper explores the practical challenges encountered in mapping military-based VCS organisations in NI, offers methodological guidance for others who are considering undertaking a review with a comparable focus and suggests improvements to existing scoping methods.
This work was supported by the Forces in Mind Trust under grant FiMT14/1219NI.
The research reported in this paper forms part of a larger commissioned piece of research funded by the Forces in Mind Trust.The authors alone are responsible for the opinions and interpretations expressed herein.
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- hidden populations
- scoping reviews
- voluntary sector