Virtual Workshop – Preparing Early-Career Scholars: Advising Ethical Research in Communities under Duress

Many political scientists, both within and beyond the academy, conduct research in circumstances in which they, their research subjects, or their research collaborators may be under duress—among refugees or the very poor, in violent conflict, under autocratic regimes. What are their ethical obligations to themselves, their collaborators, their subjects and the research enterprise as a whole? How should department graduate advisors and PhD committees ensure that their students are properly prepared not only to comply with IRB requirements but conduct ethical, responsible, and constructive inquiry? 

Join us for a virtual workshop examining the ethical dimensions of conducting research in and on communities under duress, specifically in refugee and very poor populations, in violent conflicts, and in authoritarian settings. Part presentation and part collaborative discussion, we invite attendees to learn about and offer feedback on our simple assessment tool that PhD students (and other researchers) can use to examine the ethical dimensions of their proposed research. Our workshop is intended for faculty who advise and mentor graduate students, but we welcome all scholars interested in discussing mechanisms to better prepare researchers in conducting ethical, responsible, and constructive social inquiry.

Register Here to Participate in One of Two Workshop: 

Option 1 – 2:00pm – 3:30pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022, Register Here

Option 2 –  1:30pm – 3pm, Friday, November 18, 2022, Register Here

Workshop Agenda: 

  1. The first half hour will be devoted to discussing the larger project of which this assessment tool is an outcome.  
  2. Participants will then be asked to evaluate the tool itself, including:
    • how they might use the tool and what might make it easier to utilize, particularly for advisors without personal experience of research in such circumstances;
    • where in a graduate career such an assessment might most fruitfully be deployed;
    • what other mechanisms are currently available for students who want or need to consider the ethical responsibilities of conducting research in communities under duress.

Preliminary materials, including a draft of the assessment tool itself, will be circulated to all registered participants before the Workshop. 

Learn More About the Advising on Ethical Research in Communities under Duress Initiative:

This workshop is part of a larger project underway by an interdisciplinary team of social scientists who work in and on the Middle East and North Africa (see REMENA: https://www.mei.columbia.edu/remena-about ). With support from APSA and in collaboration with APSA’s MENA Politics Organized Section, prior workshops on The Research Enterprise in the Middle East and North Africa: Ethics & Advising were held alongside the July 2022 APSA MENA Political Science conference in Amman and at the September 2022 APSA Annual Meeting in Montreal. This project focuses on the Middle East and North Africa in part because this region is home to a variety of communities under duress where graduate students are undertaking research. However, we believe the challenges of conducting research in these settings are, if not universal, very widespread, especially in the Global South. Concerned that North American universities are responding merely by discouraging research in precisely some of the most vexed contexts, we want to encourage responsible, ethical, critical inquiry.

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