Doing research in conflict contexts is crucial. But how do you best conduct research – in all disciplines – in conflict-affected contexts? These guidelines are designed for all levels of researchers – from research student to professor – who conduct research in settings that are conflict-affected. These guidelines take you through 9 steps of a research cycle and point your attention to critical and sensitive aspects of research in and on conflict.
Applying conflict sensitivity to research highlights that, regardless of subject matter and methodology, research is always part of the context in which it takes place. In stable settings, this may be less problematic or at least more predictable and manageable. In conflict contexts, however, where tensions are high, power dynamics are extreme and the security situation is opaque, the presence of international researchers and the ‘extraction’ of information can be very sensitive.
Adopting a conflict sensitive approach to research helps to understand the interaction of research with multiple layers of overt or latent conflicts. The interaction of research and conflict context effects what is being researched, how research is carried out, and the knowledge that is thus produced.
A conflict sensitive approach throughout the entire research cycle:
Examples of positive impacts of conflict sensitive research include
Examples of negative impacts include
The research methods used to formulate these guidelines include interviews with over a dozen researchers and research funding institutions from the Global North and South. They were complemented by a literature review of existing guidelines on conflict sensitivity, on field research in conflict contexts, and on research ethics as well as by a consultation round with the interviewees and peacebuilding professionals.