Die KFPE ist die Dialogplattform für globale Forschungspartnerschaften in der Schweiz. Sie engagiert sich für eine effiziente, wirksame und gleichberechtigte Forschungszusammenarbeit mit Ländern niedrigen und mittleren Einkommens. Sie leistet damit einen Beitrag zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung und zur Lösung globaler und lokaler Herausforderungen.mehr

Bild: NASAmehr

6. Monitoring & Reflection during the research activity

Step 6: Monitoring & Reflection during the research activity – adapt to the risk landscape
Bild: studio KO

Implementing research in a fragile and conflict-affected context requires a constant reflection practice of the researchers and their partners. It is crucial you monitor positive and negative impacts of the research activities, in order to act upon them appropriately. Particularly in violent conflicts (civil war, high risk of security threats) and highly authoritarian regimes, staff and local partners face risks for being involved in research. If research participants have negative experiences with interviews or if the research leads to criticism of persons/institutions in power, this can negatively affect long-term research relationships. A positive experience could facilitate your research project and eventually lead to rapprochement of various groups and reduced tensions.

Questions to consider

  • Do you have an appropriate mechanism to monitor and regularly update your context analysis on emerging conflict sensitivity risks and opportunities? Are there funds set aside for such activities?
  • What strategies and channels are in place to counter negative impacts and adapt your research project?
  • How can you provide adequate training for everyone involved in the research process on how to conduct research in a specific conflict context?
  • Do you document lessons you have learned from integrating a conflict perspective? How are such changes made due to conflict dynamics reflected in the final reporting and assessment?


  • Take measures to assess and minimise these risks: up-to-date context information, scenario planning and security training as well as psychological support.
  • Build periodic, multi-perspective context analyses into the research cycle. Have an outsider, advisory group or similar arrangement to check in on this.
  • While conducting research, proactively communicate research objectives, manage expectations and consult with stakeholders, especially those who could be negatively affected or may feel neglected.
  • Exchange with other researchers, take care of your well-being (write a field research journal) and do not isolate yourself in the role of the ’independent observer’ (‘lone wolf’).
  • Identify linkages with other policies, such as child safeguarding policy; gender based violence and abuse; anti-corruption policy; and data quality and integrity.

“Travelling to the research context for several times allowed us also to include the local community, explain our research interest and methodology (such as the functioning of a GPS device) and conduct participatory mappings. Our findings were also of interest to the local community and they could also benefit from the data we jointly collected.”

“Is it ethical to do research in a conflict context? Resources for humanitarian aid should not be taken away for research (hotel rooms, drivers, translators, etc.). In conflict-affected contexts, the priority should be on practice-oriented research that provides an added value for local partners. A purely ‘academic benefit’ is not justified in such circumstances.”