Academic Research

NUM welcomes enquiries from academic institutions interested in developing research with us.  Please be aware that NUM’s capacity to contribute to all research proposals is limited, and therefore only postgraduate study (and usually only PhD research), and academic research being carried out by academics employed in Universities or by other research organisations, can be considered.


Sex workers are an over-researched group and any research inquiry must support our work and add to a body of knowledge that improves services for our clients.


Your research request will be considered by the NUM Board of Director’s Academic Representatives.

Your research must:

  • support NUM’s values, mission, objectives, service delivery
  • add to the body of knowledge on sex work
  • contribute to improving services for NUM members

In order to be considered by NUM’s Academic Representatives please provide the following:

  1. For postgraduate students- details of your supervisor, the level of supervision you will receive & and brief info about their expertise relating to your area of study.
  2. The proposed research question, design and methods.
  3. What specifically you would require from NUM : e.g. providing access to data, promotion to project member promotion to sex worker members, consultation on survey design
  4. The ethical considerations to be taken into account and how these will be adhered to, including informed consent and confidentiality, and how the welfare of participants will be assured during the research.
  5. Confirmation of Research Ethics Committee approval from your University.
  6. Information about how NUM will be involved in the research.
  7. The use to which the research will be put, including how the findings from the research will be fed back to participants.
  8. A current summary 2 page CV, which includes examples of previous work you have undertaken.

For all approved research NUM requires:

  1. A written research agreement - which will include amongst other things details regarding ownership of data, acknowledgement of NUM, authorship arrangements where appropriate.
  2. A research findings summary/briefing to go on NUM website after the research is completed



For further information on ethical practice, research with sex workers and background literature:

Campbell, R and M O'Neill (ed) Sex work now. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.

Pitcher, J., Campbell, R., Hubbard, P., O'Neill, M., and Scoular, J., (2008) 'Diverse community responses to controversial urban issues: the contribution of qualitative research to policy development' in Maginn, PJ, Thompson, S and Tonts, M (ed) Qualitative Urban Analysis: an international perspective. Oxford: Elsevier.

Sanders, T (2006) 'Sexing up the subject: methodological nuances in the female sex industry'. Sexualities, 9(4): 471-490.

Sanders, T, M O'Neill and J Pitcher (2009) Prostitution: sex work, policy and politics. London: Sage.

Shaver, F M (2005) 'Sex work research: methodological and ethical challenges'. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20 (3): 296-319.



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