Ethical, Methodological, and Contextual Challenges in Research in Conflict Settings: The case of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon

Research within conflict settings challenges the ethical assumptions of traditional research practice. The tensions between theory and practice were evident in a study of working children among Syrian refugee communities in Lebanon. While the study sought to introduce scientific evidence that might support effective policy solutions, its implementation was marked by a struggle to navigate bureaucracy, vested political interests, climates of xenophobia and sectarianism, and an unfolding military conflict that cast a shadow on the research initiative.

The study pushed the researcher to examine privileged understandings of research ethics and elucidated structural, institutional, and societal obstacles beleaguering efforts to support refugees. Many of the challenges of the research process were structural in nature, tethered to the institutional and societal contexts within which the research was conceived and conducted. Some of these entrenched dynamics may be inescapable within the parameters of institutional research, while others may be addressed through greater awareness and preparation. Specifically, researchers studying refugee communities within conflict settings must intentionally reflect on the dynamics that govern refugee politics in the research context. Particular attention must be paid to the elements of xenophobia, violence, and fear that impact participants’ autonomy and agency within the study.

Intentional engagement with these dynamics cannot insulate the research process from the coercive realities of the refugee experience, yet researchers do have the opportunity to transparently reaffirm their commitments to ethical practice. 

Published 2019-06-27

Document Information

Publication year
2019
Author(s)
Habib, Rima R.
Format
pdf, 7p.
Rights
© The Author(s). 2019
Creative Commons License
Attribution
Country
Lebanon

Document Information

Publication year
2019
Author(s)
Habib, Rima R.
Format
pdf, 7p.
Rights
© The Author(s). 2019
Creative Commons License
Attribution
Country
Lebanon