Integrity and BBC Media Action jointly hosted a stakeholder convening in London to share learning and best practice on building research capacity in fragile and conflict-affected environments.
The convening was attended by representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office, the Cabinet Office, the Stabilisation Unit, global polling organisation Gallup, international media NGO Internews, and public policy consultancy Aequitas.
The group identified some of the main challenges facing researchers in fragile environments as security, access to communities, lack of research infrastructure and respondent bias or politically motivated responses. But the collection of qualitative or quantitative information from these environments is not impossible, and there were several examples of good practice that the group shared. These included:
- Using local partners, such as universities, national statistical agencies or local NGOs, to help the researcher accessdifficult to reach communities or populations.
- Building of local capacity through joint development of research plans with local researchers, typified by BBC Media Action’s work with local youth groups in Burma.
- Utilising a range of different research methodologies to triangulate information, and where possible verify information with multi-stakeholder groups.
- Staying ethical, by utilising guidelines and professional codes of conduct such as those found in journalism and medical professions.
The convening was the second in an Integrity-led series investigating the broader challenges of conducting opinion polling and socio-economic research in fragile and conflict-affected states. We plan to hold more fora like this in the future and will share results.
Posted by Kate Ives, Head of Stakeholder Engagement