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Papers | Conflict Field Research
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Emotional Challenges

Ethical Responsibilities

  • Cyril Kenneth Adonis, 2008, Ethical Dilemmas in Conducting Research with Ex-combatants in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (Nova Southeastern University). This paper analyses the ways in which the wants and needs of ex-combatants’ are not met by research, thus posing ethical challenges, and when those researched reveal possibly dangerous information, ethical questions of anonymity come up.
  • Christof P. Kurz, 2008,Eyewitness to Conflict and Peace: Key Informants and Causal Accounts of War and Peacebuilding, Tufts University (International Rescue Committee). This paper argues that interviews are particularly useful in studying the causal mechanisms of conflict and peacebuilding, while providing insight on how to select respondents and conduct subsequent interviews in conflict and post-conflict environments, as well as the challenges, practical and ethical, field interviewers may encounter.

Ethics in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings

  • Mareike Schomerus, 2008, Chasing the Kony Story, London School of Economics. In her role as a journalist, Schomerus documents her 2006 interview with Joseph Kony and the challenges she faced when news colleagues manipulated the content of her story about Kony. 

Gaining Access

Research Design

Researcher Positionality

  • Yolande Bouka, 2015, Researching Violence in Africa as a Black Woman: Notes from Rwanda, American University/Institute for Security Studies. This working paper addresses some of the ethical and methodological concerns I confronted as a non-white woman conducting research in post-conflict Rwanda. In this paper, I address the wanting diversity of perspectives with regards to reflexivity, positionality, and risk in the field and expose some implications of conducting research in politically charged environments for non-white, “brown,” and/or non-western researchers. I also introduce perspectives that may influence the ways in which they gather and analyze their data when researching political violence. The paper looks at how I navigated my field experience as a Western female researcher of the African diaspora. I argue that underrepresented researchers and the study of violence can benefit from broadening the conversation about researchers’ identities and how they relate to the field, their research subjects, and their data.

Researched/Researcher Relationships

  • Lee Ann Fujii, 2008, Ethical challenges of micro-level fieldwork, George Washington University (University of Toronto). This paper discusses how micro-level research in Rwanda and the personal bonds formed through close contact blurs the lines of researchers and participants through direct engagement and how those researched should have a say in how they are represented through the researcher’s writing.