Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
While not a new issue, several incidents in recent years have made fieldwork insecurity reach the news headlines. However, there has been little systematic analysis of what can be done. This book is a direct response to this. Combining extensive consultations with researchers and insights from journalism and the aid sector, the authors set out to make a guide that can empower researchers and contribute to safer research practice. The authors apply a broad definition of 'the field', including research on contentious topics and actors in otherwise peaceful and democratic settings, and research in authoritarian and unpeaceful contexts. The book considers physical, psychological, and data security threats in chapters following the research process (before, in, and after the fieldwork). It presents an inclusive approach to risk analysis, including the researchers, their diverse range of interlocutors, and the role of their home institutions. By bringing attention to the psychological risks associated with doing research in hostile contexts, the book sheds light on an often neglected, and tabooed, consequence of field research. The book will be a useful guide not only for novice researchers but for scholars who have been around for a while. As times change, so does the nature of data, how we store it and who can access it. The chapters on digital security and data protection are detailed and instructive. This is a book written by researchers for researchers, and their institutions. By offering concrete tools and raising pertinent questions, the book can be used as a practical handbook, but also to instigate higher-level discussions about risk, ethics, and responsibility needed to make research safer for everyone involved.