From horror story to manageable risk. Formulating safety strategies for peace researchers
AuthorMeyer, Scott D.
Research in the social sciences, and specifically peace studies, often utilizes fieldwork as a method to collect data. During this process, researchers are exposed to a variety of safety risks from the ambient fieldwork setting that they are often unprepared to deal with. This thesis argues that researchers and their sending institutions should do a better job of managing risks in the field, specifically by creating decision-making strategies for researchers. These strategies should be informed by both substantive knowledge as well as experiential and emotional knowledge from other researchers who have conducted fieldwork. By highlighting my own research experience, this thesis shows a typical research process and the minimal focus on safety in the field, as well as the possible dangers one could experience in the field. My emotional response to an incident during my fieldwork experience is analyzed using Albert Hirschman’s framework of Exit, Voice and Loyalty. This analysis supports the argument that safety and personal experience are essential parts of the research process and the academic findings. My experience is then used to begin developing useful decision-making strategies for researchers and institutions. Ultimately, this thesis aims to give voice to other researchers who have experienced incidents in the field and attempts to open a discussion on the best ways to help researchers manage risks from the ambient fieldwork setting.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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Copyright 2007 The Author(s)
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