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Review of "Hidden and uninterested populations: methodological insights and unresolved issues from the study of Cannabis Social Clubs" as submitted to Methodological Innovations (MI0-20-0017)

Published onJul 31, 2020
Review of "Hidden and uninterested populations: methodological insights and unresolved issues from the study of Cannabis Social Clubs" as submitted to Methodological Innovations (MI0-20-0017)

It’s an interesting paper that I think people will find useful. 

Main critiques: 

1) The journal is Methodological Innovations. I’d like to see the paper begin and end with stronger, clearer statements on what is/are the methodological innovation/s presented herein. 

2) I may be in the minority here, but I’d also like to see the experiences and innovation(s) better situated within a theoretical framework. Currently, the paper reads to me as quite descriptive. To be clear, the framework doesn’t have to apply a framework that’s foreign to the authors. For example, the paper de facto draws on the ethnographic perspective, in that the authors are presenting their experiences from their perspectives. By adding some theory to the paper, in a deductive or inductive manner, the paper would have greater appeal. 

A thought: 

This needn’t be addressed in the paper, but a thought: Regarding the following paragraph, what came to mind is the literature on how dealers avoid the label as a “dealer”. I’m thinking of Heith Copes’ work and some by Tim Dickinson, for example. They explain that because the stereotypical notion of a “dealer” is bad, people actively avoid thinking of themselves as such even if they are dealers as legally defined. I’m curious if something similar could occur with CSCs and whether that would affect your sampling, sample, and findings. The paragraph is “Firstly, to avoid restricting our analyses to a particular kind of CSC, we did not develop any pre-definition of what we would consider as constituting a CSC for the purposes of our studies. Rather, we drew on a CSCs own conceptualization as such as a sufficient criterion for inclusion in the study (meaning that if an organization considered itself a CSC, then it was eligible for participation in the study). Even so, some uncertainty remained: for example, during S3 there were a few instances in which the research team had to reiterate the inclusion criteria to potential participants who were unsure about their eligibility to take part in the study. Secondly, throughout the studies we remained attentive to any attempts or suggestions from participants to protect the association of the term ‘CSC’ from some of the variants of the model. For instance, one of the stakeholders consulted in S3 argued that “to put all the models under the umbrella of CSC could be unproductive for the science and for the activism”. While we certainly noted the divergent views among the community with regards to their self-representation and goals, we did not limit the study to any particular view.” 

Small things: 

In the abstract, you wrote “In particular, we aim to examine our approach(es).” Choose: is it an approach or approaches? It’s one or the other, in your case.

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