Sigma Research

Strategies in eliciting sensitive sexual information: the case of gay men

Sociological Review, 1993, 41(3): 537-555.

Authors: APM Coxon, PM Davies, AJ Hunt, TJ McManus, CM Rees, P Weatherburn


Project SIGMA’s research on gay men’s sexual health behaviour and AIDS and HIV infection has posed complex ethnographic and methodological problems which have required unorthodox and innovative strategies for their solution. Three main problem areas included: value-conflict between interviewer/ HIV tester roles; Issues concerning data confidentiality and legal interference, and the elicitation of detailed sexual behaviour. The procedures developed have a clear applicability to other research concerned with covert, stigmatised and legally-sensitive behaviour or data.

Available online