Modern methods in research by dr malik khalid mehmood ph_d


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  • Can be said about any data collection exercise, where the circle starts is arbitrary
  • Modern methods in research by dr malik khalid mehmood ph_d

    1. 1. Advances in qualitative and quantitativefieldwork Dr Malik Khalid ehmood PhD ‘Policy and Practice in Violence Affected Contexts: What Can the Latest Conflict Research Teach Us?‘ Microcon conference, University of Cambridge June 30th 2010 AIS
    2. 2. Data and conflict • Good data are produced when the researcher  Has a ‘correct’ conceptualization of the issues  Has control over the data collection  Can follow proper procedures and methodology • Data collection in conflict zones may make all this difficult • What has Microcon achieved? AIS
    3. 3. Sources of data in the Microcon projects • Existing data sets (used in 14 projects)  Mainly quantitative: various household-surveys, census, CE-DAT, DHS and death and vital registrations  One based only on qualitative data (UNU-EHS) • New data gathered (used in another 14 projects)  Mainly qualitative: focus groups, in-depth interviews, semi-structured narratives  Some household surveys (India, South Africa, Tanzania)  Panel study (Burundi)  Respondent Driven Sampling (Liberia) AIS
    4. 4. Existing data sets used in Microcon projects Quantitative data Qualitative and quantitative data Qualitative data CE –DAT not included in this overview AIS
    5. 5. New data gathered in Microcon projects Quantitative data Qualitative and quantitative data Qualitative data AIS
    6. 6. Microcon data Existing quantitative New qualitative Focus on Africa Quantitative data Qual and quant data Qualitative data West, Sahel and East In addition India, Colombia, Indonesia, Europe and European neighbors AIS
    7. 7. The vicious circle Bad conceptualization Lack of control Bad data over data collection Wrong methodology AIS
    8. 8. Conceptualization • Delimitation of study  Microcon: shift of focus from overall politics of conflict to households and individual actors  Leads to different methods, focus on conflict zones rather than countries, because of households and individual networks  Creates need for dealing with network character of adaption to conflict AIS
    9. 9. Data collection • Main problem with conflict data:  Collection only when and where safe, for example exclusion of zones with particular security problems  Leads to selection bias  Linked to ethical issues – resolution may lead to unacceptable situations • Because of problems, methodological shortcuts AIS
    10. 10. What is wrong methodology? • Is there anything particular methodology or philosophy of science related to conflict studies? • Probably not – difficult to see where the borderline between conflict and ordinary society should be in methodological or philosophical terms • But empirical field based conflict studies easily raises practical and ethical questions AIS
    11. 11. One solution: Respondent driven sampling • Employed in some of the studies • Problem:  Fighters can seldom be studied while in the field  Demobilized fighters usually heavily selected (those not in rehabilitation, integrated into armed forces difficult to find) • Chain referral sampling, solution to selection problems by self selection and incentive system • RDS used for the first time in conflict studies with Microcon • Has been criticized for payment of informants AIS
    12. 12. Another solution: Panel studies in conflict areas • Burundi – more successful than expected in terms of following the panel • Considerable discussion about ethics, because of the possibility of identifying respondents • But very useful in terms of econometric analysis of conflict AIS
    13. 13. Ethics and Microcon • Microcon has had a well-developed procedures for the projects to get ethical approval • Probably better system than most conflict research programs and projects • Typical problem areas  Protection of respondents • Can anonymity be guaranteed?  Protection of field staff • Do we expose field staff to danger?  Informed consent • Still a problematic area – difficult to make the consent really informed  Types of questions posed • Not clear what are really questions that are intrusive or inappropriate  Who is served by the research?  Positioning on key issues • Relation to UN resolutions, international law etc AIS
    14. 14. Protection of respondents • What is a realistic degree of protection?  Treatment of questionnaires: Should names be noted on household rosters? Should cover pages for questionnaires be stored separately and destroyed immediately when their scientific use is finished? Can one trust statistical offices or other cooperating institutions • Can communities realistically be protected?  Any intelligence officer with a modicum of intelligence will know where the researcher was • Presentation of results  Will the results present problems for the communities or persons? AIS
    15. 15. Protection of field staff • The cynical anthropologist: “Let the native walk first on the path, so that he will wake the snakes and the wild animals” • We sometimes use local field staff in the same way: assuming that their knowledge of the local situation will protect them • Ethics committee considered the questions surrounding this – but no real solution.  Researchers assurance that “good training will be given” not really an assurance AIS
    16. 16. Informed consent • Informed consent requires  That the project is explained fully, or at least so that the respondent can form a basis for understanding benefits and drawbacks  That the respondent understands the explanation  That the consent is documented (either through signature, or that the interviewer/researcher writes down that consent has been obtained) AIS
    17. 17. Informed consent usually involves • What the study is about • Description of what the researcher will do • Description of risks  May be substantial, but we often do not spell them out • Description of benefits  Usually only general ones in the typical Microcon study • Confidentiality  Usually the easy part, but legal basis may be absent in many countries • Right to withdraw from the study AIS
    18. 18. Types of questions asked • Informed consent has traditionally been especially important in the health field • Because health information is perceived as especially problematic • Not clear why this is so – for example why one can ask about political opinions without fear of ethics boards while whether or not people had a cold last week would require permission AIS
    19. 19. Who is served by the research • Critical researchers?  Difficult to say what one should be critical of – most of today’s conflicts are not the Vietnam war  Critical of say, both Eritrea and Ethiopia, but, what else is new? • Policy relevant?  Explicit Microcon aim. Policy relevant for whom? EU foreign policy, peace keeping • Embedded researchers?  Used by US in Iraq, Afghanistan, (the Human Terrain System program) usually condemned by social science professional organizations. Is Microcon different (Except not being directly employed?) AIS
    20. 20. Positioning on key issues • Focus on empirical description of variation vs relation to conventions (right based approaches)  Child labour  UN resolution 1325 on women and conflict  Children in armed conflict • Microcon has in general gone for the variation approach and not confronted the issue much AIS
    21. 21. Data availability • Data are becoming available, also on the web, example: AIS