Doing research in conflict contexts: Practical and ethical challenges for researchers when conducting fieldwork.

Sigrun Marie Moss, Özden Melis Uluğ, Yasemin Gülsüm Acar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Within social psychology, fieldwork in conflict settings is still not commonplace, despite recent calls formore researchers to engage in fieldwork to understand conflict dynamics. With this article, we wish toemphasize the importance of conducting fieldwork to the future of psychological science, whilesimultaneously acknowledging the challenges such research entails. We approach the subject as “out-siders,” and consider a number of important factors that researchers in that position should be aware ofbefore entering a conflict situation. We have chosen the issues we believe to be the main challenges andthose which are most in need of discussion prior to outsiders conducting fieldwork in conflict contexts.These issues are listed as either practical or ethical. Practical concerns include the following: (a) actualand perceived safety of researchers and participants, (b) the complexities of getting research permits, (c)identities of the researcher, (d) social and cultural script, and (e) language barriers between researchersand participants. Ethical concerns necessary to take into account in conflict contexts include but are notlimited to (a) getting informed consent, (b) recording interviews, (c) avoiding psychological harm torespondents, (d) psychological demands of research for the research team, and (e) giving back to therespondents. With a need for more conflict research within social psychology, we hope to contribute toan increase in the work done in such contexts as well as the general discussions of such experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-99
JournalPeace and Conflict
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • conflict
  • ethics
  • methodology
  • fieldwork
  • data collection

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