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Collaborative Working Groups (CWGs)

Working Through Security: Methods for Making Security Practices Visible Through Research

Studying human security at an “intimate” level can be challenging due to ethical issues, data sensitivity, research access, legislation, and technological and political constraints. Unfortunately, when researchers describe their findings related to human security, they do not often discuss the decisions, strategies, and processes they used to overcome such research challenges. When methods are discussed (especially in formal academic journals), they often lack detail of the researchers’ decision-making processes. In fact, there are very few guidelines or texts available for scholars to use when designing research projects that explore the varied and complex aspects of human security.

For researchers, the inability to access accounts of research difficulties and practical advice on addressing them can lead to constraints on their capacity to generate new insights, thereby reducing their ability to produce rigorous data to inform practice and policy, and ultimately leading to negative ramifications for research populations. Poorly planned research can also impede the development of or erode trust between researcher and communities, which is crucial for research on sensitive topics related to human security. Without methodological guidance, both emerging and experienced researchers may make costly missteps that can damage relationships with research participants. Researchers may also find that they are “reinventing the wheel” when developing strategies to conduct research in challenging contexts. Student-researchers will not have been exposed to information regarding how research approaches they learn in the classroom are practically enacted in the field. As such, there is a critical need to make visible the methodological challenges researchers encounter when exploring human security.

Organized around collaborative working groups (CWGs), this project focuses on illuminating the methodological challenges and opportunities in human security research and highlighting strategies for effectively managing these challenges. It brings together leading scholars with diverse backgrounds and methodological approaches to examine how researchers practically explore human security issues.

Contact Us:

Carrie Sanders, Director

Bree Akesson, Associate Director

Samantha Henderson, Project Coordinator

T: 519.756.8228 x5376