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Comparing homelessness research in the US and Britain

Fitzpatrick, S. and Christian, J. (2006) Comparing homelessness research in the US and Britain. European Journal of Housing Policy, 6 (3). pp. 313-333. ISSN 1461-6718

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The US and Britain have the most extensive research literatures on homelessness in the English-speaking world, but they take markedly different approaches to scientific investigation of this topic. In this paper, we present a comparative evaluation of these two highly developed homelessness research traditions, drawing out methodological, conceptual and theoretical lessons for researchers in both countries, which we hope will also have a wider resonance for homelessness scholars across Europe and elsewhere in the economically developed world. The paper suggests that divergent explanations of homelessness in the US and Britain may reflect 'real' differences in the nature of homelessness in the two countries, rooted in their contrasting social and economic contexts, but argues that the incommensurability of the data currently generated by US and British researchers means that, at present, it is not possible to test this hypothesis. The paper advocates the development of 'purposeful' comparative research on homelessness in order to facilitate cross-national learning at both the policy and theoretical levels.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Housing Policy (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 10:43
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2009 10:43
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616710600973151
Status: Published
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Identification Number: 10.1080/14616710600973151
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6109

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