Research Ethics and Methods

Research Ethics and Methods

PLRI aims to both incorporate and improve upon traditional qualitative and quantitative research methodologies moving toward innovative, interdisciplinary and participatory frameworks that reflect sex workers priorities and perspectives.

The PLRI strives to develop and embed ways of involving sex workers in the production of knowledge that are ethical and which have greater socio-cultural relevance to sex workers. We plan to make spaces and opportunities for tansformative capacity building, collective thinking, research, strategic knowledge translation and thoughtful advocacy by:

  • Developing innovative and ethical ways of researching sex work
  • Conducting research that is ethical, methodologically sound and theory-driven
  • Publishing and innovatively communicating research findings and analysis of sex work issues
  • Supporting training to increase capacity for high priority, community-based research and its uptake
  • Hosting seminars, conferences and web-based discussion spaces for productive dialogue between scholars, sex workers, policy analysts/makers and advocates



  • The Ethnography of Prostitution: New International Perspectives - 2010

    Prominent US sociologist Weitzer reviews books on sex work. he says 'The best recent research on prostitution is  ethnographic and centered outside the United States. The books under review are multi faceted, rich, novel contributions to the  literature, throwing a spotlight on previously hidden worlds. Each presents a microcosm of commercial sex that is linked to macro-level structures. And each focuses on indoor prostitution, a welcome counterbalance to the voluminous literature on street prostitution.'

  • 'Saving' Children : Documentary Born into Brothels ignores local organizing efforts - 2010

    This piece originally appeared in Samar 19: Spring, 2005

  • Dissonant emotions, divergent outcomes: Constructing space for emotional methodologies in development - 2010

    Movimento para a liberdade das mulheres na prostituição (Movimento) and União para a protecção dos direitos dos trabalhadores (União) are mobilising for human rights around sex work and prostitution in Latin America. After a year of working with both groups, my relationship with Movimento broke down; meanwhile the relationship with União flourished and from it emerged intensive and productive ethnographic experiences and a large and rich dataset.

  • The Mythology of Prostitution: Advocacy Research - 2010

    An article by Ronald Weitzer in Sex Res Soc Policy (2010) 7:15–29. The author examines the claims made by organizations, activists, and scholars who embrace the oppression paradigm, evaluates the reasoning and evidence used in support of their claims, and highlights some of the ways in which this perspective has influenced recent legislation and public policy in selected nations. The author presents an alternative perspective, the polymorphous paradigm, and suggests that public policy on prostitution would be better informed by this evidence-based perspective.

  • Bridging Communities in Sex Work Research - 2009

    A workshop abstract by Wood, E. and Goodyear, M. from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Eastern & Midcontinent Region Joint Conference St Petersburg June 2009.

  • Controlling Loose Women: International trends in the regulation of the exchange of sexual services - 2009

    An examination of regulatory systems is often confused by imperfect terminology that means different things in different contexts and locations. Common terms include abolition, prohibition, criminalisation, decriminalisation, legalisation and regulation.

  • Good Practice for Sex Workers Participation in Biomedical HIV Prevention Trials - 2009

    GPP Partner Programmatic Report for the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC).

  • Guidance on Provider-initiated HIV Testing and Counselling in Health Facilities - 2009

    UNAIDS policy on provider initiated routine HIV testing.

  • Is the number of trafficked call girls a myth? - 2009

    A news story from the BBC's radio programme about mathematics, More or Less, which examined the validity of the data upon which British plans to criminalise paying for sex with a prostitute who has been trafficked or is marketed by a pimp. In this article Ruth Alexander questions how the scope of the current problem is calculated. 

  • The Curious Sex Workers Guide to attending the 18th International AIDS Conference - 2009

    The 18th International AIDS Conference, will take place in Vienna, Austria, from the 18th to the 23rd of July 2010. The International Network of Sex Work Projects has been working hard to ensure that sex workers are a strong presence at the conference as always. Sex workers will have a Networking Zone and several exhibition booths, some dedicated sessions, speakers, a pre-meeting, a rally and, as always, a party.

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