This paper contributes to ongoing debates about the possibilities/impossibilities and particular challenges related to conducting field research in conflict settings by addressing a particular topic of concern: collaboration between researchers, organisations, respondents, and other actors present in the field. Whereas collaboration with local actors has been common for reasons of access and security, there seems to be a lack of recognition of the manner in which collaboration in the field shapes the generation of knowledge on conflict and post-conflict settings. The objectives of this paper are twofold: (i) to highlight the potential contribution of research collaborations in conflict environments beyond pragmatic considerations of access and security; and (ii) to argue for more explicit attention to how such forms of collaboration influence the construction of knowledge and for more rigour in tracing the implications of such cooperation. The paper seeks to contribute to continuous learning on the possibilities/impossibilities of working with interactive research under conditions of conflict and insecurity.
Keywords: collaborative research; conflict research; ethnography; sense-making.
© 2013 The Author(s). Journal compilation © Overseas Development Institute, 2013.