The TARA Project: Tracking homeless women in longitudinal research

Williamson E, Abrahams HA, Morgan KJ, Cameron AM

European Journal of Homelessness 2014, 8, 2: 69—160

Available online 10 Dec 2014


Abstract_ This paper looks at the use of ‘tracking’ within a longitudinal study concerned with the service use and needs of homeless women. By reflecting on the process in relation to both ethical and practical considerations, this paper suggests that the successful retention of participants in this study (58 percent), as well as the ability to know more about those who did not continue in the research, was the result of four key elements. These were: the relationship between the research team and participants; the relationship between the research team and services; the role of service user advisors; and the importance of recognising respectful values across the research and within the research team itself. This paper also considers how the issue of tracking within research, as well as participants’ views on this process, can offer insights into the ways in which service providers might better explain and utilise information-sharing across different statutory and voluntary sector services. >> Key words_ Homelessness, gender, tracking, qualitative longitudinal research