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SAFEResearch – Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences

Research project

Short description

In recent years, conducting field research has become an increasingly risky endeavour, particularly in states or regions characterized by violent conflict, repressive political regimes, or state failure. Working under such conditions, or with marginalized communities facing similar circumstances, is challenging. Researchers need to protect themselves, and those with whom they work. They need to find ways to assure the physical safety of their respondents, and they must consider whether and how confidentiality can be maintained.

Despite the fact that scholars across a range of disciplines face more and more challenges, guidance on how to prepare and conduct safe research was not readily available. This project thus brought together scholars in a series of workshops and professional Hostile Environment and Emergency First Aid Trainings (HEFAT) to discuss security issues related to fieldwork. The result is a handbook, Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences (Sage, 2020), that aims at creating guidance on how to prepare and conduct safer research within the social sciences.

The book

Grimm, Jannis J.; Koehler, Kevin; Lust, Ellen; Saliba, Ilyas and Schierenbeck, Isabell (2020). Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences. A Guide to Human and Digital Security in Hostile Environments. Sage UK.  

Research group

Jannis Grimm, Institute for Protest and Social Movement Studies in Berlin (ipb) and the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics at Freie Universität Berlin.

Kevin KoehlerInstitute of Political Science, Leiden University.

Ellen Lust, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg.

Ilyas Saliba, Global Public Policy institute.

Isabell Schierenbeck, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg.