Given that incentives are an integral part the research participant recruitment and retention process, it is critical for researchers with a community-based intervention or action focus, to understand the ethical implications of research incentives. Social work researchers should understand and consider the ramifications of research incentives, especially among marginalized, oppressed, and vulnerable individuals and communities who are or may be more vulnerable to coercion. Research incentives may have unintended consequences for the participant and or community. Incentives could be unintentionally exploitive especially when considering already marginalized populations whether in the United States or in resource constricted settings/countries. Thus, discussions about what constitutes an appropriate and ethical incentive to those who join with community-based researchers to inform or intervene in their communities or neighborhoods warrants more attention from macro focused social work researchers as it remains an understudied issue.
This roundtable session will facilitate a conversation about how community-based researchers currently use incentives in their work, and lead to how we can engage in the thoughtful use of incentives to demonstrate partnership equity and appreciation of insider knowledge. Presenters will focus particular attention on the following topics: 1) exploring the use of incentives to engage local participants in community-based research, 2) issues in incentivizing participants during international research projects, 3) ethical considerations of using incentives with marginalized or hidden community members, and 4) avenues for future research on this important topic. Our goal is to fuel conversation that will promote increased attention to this issue in community-based research to further our understanding of how we build partnerships in our areas to battle inequities and build lasting solutions.