Vote: Publish pending minor changes
[For votes to count, referees must reasonably explain why they voted as they did. Thus, please explain your vote. If you voted to publish pending minor changes, specify each change, why it is needed, and, possibly, how it should/could be done.]
I like the longitudinal approach and in-depth descriptions (but see caveat below on sample size).
Before it can be published, there are several issues that need attention.
First, I assume that the two individuals featured in the paper worked in street prostitution. I dislike the generic term “prostitution” when a study is focused on only one prostitution sector, as the term gives the impression that the findings are broader than they may be. Thus, I suggest specifying “street prostitution” in the title, the front end, and the Limitations part to the paper. I realize that some of the subjects in the larger sample of 18 worked off-street, but it seems like the two individuals featured here worked the streets.
Page 3: “Prostitution exit has no single definition.” Really? Exiting followed by relapse still involves exiting at one stage at least.
Page 3: please note that self-esteem doesn’t necessarily erode over time. Escorts and some other indoor workers report significant increases in self-esteem over time. Authors seem to assume it necessarily decreases.
I am not clear as to exactly why the paper focuses on only 2 of the 18 subjects. Authors say they used “typical case sampling” to go from 18 to 2, but why only 2, and what makes them “typical”? Were these the only 2 cases that were, as the authors say, “in the middle of the spectrum”? And why wouldn’t you want to examine the exit process for the sample of 18 as a whole? I understand that the authors justify this as providing “depth” and “nuance,” but these goals can be accomplished with a somewhat larger sample as well. An N of 2 may be a problem for some readers, although I very much liked the in-depth longitudinal approach. if you prefer not to expand your coverage to, say, 4 cases, at the very minimum can you say something about the others, periodically? For example, “Lorraine’s experience of X was similar to that of the majority of other women in our sample.” OR “Keisha was unique in reporting X, as none of the other 18 respondents had a similar X.” Such contextualization would help tremendously.
The writing style is good, but the quotes are very choppy and could be edited better for flow. Hard to follow some of them. I dislike the title. Consider replacing it with the subtitle, which conveys all that readers need to know about the paper’s topic.
This sentence on page 11 is a non sequitur: “Despite fearing incarceration, at least three respondents still engaged in forms of prostitution more discreet than street solicitation.” This apparently means that they worked indoors, but what is the relation to fear of incarceration?