Ethics, security, and an invisible process: when fieldwork gets wrapped up in red tape

Franklin, S. 2018. Ethics, security, and an invisible process: when fieldwork gets wrapped up in red tape . ASAUK biennial conference. University of Birmingham 11 - 13 Sep 2018

TitleEthics, security, and an invisible process: when fieldwork gets wrapped up in red tape
AuthorsFranklin, S.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

As a doctoral student, one can be excited and nervous about conducting a research project of this size on his or her own shoulders. However, the romantic views of investigation and interviews in a land far away, are interrupted by the reality of a 4 to 6 months process of receiving authorization to conduct fieldwork. This presentation, is based on my experience as a first-year doctoral student going through “the process” as it is ubiquitously known, for ethics, travel, security risk, and project viability authorizations to conduct field work in 2017.
On the surface, we are told as researchers that these measures are put in place to ensure the safety of the university’s students and staff off-campus, hence the needs for risk assessments and insurance plans. However, bureaucratization makes it difficult for staff to navigate the process, much less research students. There is also the issue of the ethics committee lacking diversity and subject expertise regarding African studies and their perceptions of research or travels to African countries. Finally, the larger issue that universities are competing to produce research outputs and impacts to improve rankings and visibility. Thus, I wonder, if it weren’t for the recent very high-profile media attention of my case study countries, would my thesis have been considered interesting, impactful, and viable for the university to authorize and support?
The competition for higher rankings and more visibility for impactful research outputs is an interesting phenomenon that can be beneficial for researchers, especially those conducting field work. It would mean more support to produce knowledge in areas that are understudied and contribute to the greater field of African studies. However, changing bureaucratization and lack of (scholarly) diversity on ethics and research committees could hinder scholarly research in African studies. Thus, a critical reflection on how the process can be more research friendly and on the decision-makers involved in approving these requests could add to the discussion of knowledge production on Africa.

Year2018
ConferenceASAUK biennial conference

Related outputs

The Local Governance of the 2014 Ebola Epidemic: A Comparative Case Study of Liberia and Sierra Leone
Franklin, S. 2019. The Local Governance of the 2014 Ebola Epidemic: A Comparative Case Study of Liberia and Sierra Leone. PhD thesis University of Westminster Life Sciences

Governance, rational choice and new public management (npm): a general view (and some critics)
de Oliveira Fornasier, M. and Franklin, S. 2019. Governance, rational choice and new public management (npm): a general view (and some critics). Revista Brasileira de Estudos Políticos. 119 (2), pp. 327-362. https://doi.org/10.9732/P.0034-7191.2019V119P327

Book Review: Health without Borders: Epidemics in the Era of Globalization
Franklin, S. 2018. Book Review: Health without Borders: Epidemics in the Era of Globalization. Medicine, Conflict, and Survival. 34 (2), pp. 129-131. https://doi.org/10.1080/13623699.2018.1483883

Book Review: Moving Health Sovereignty in Africa: Disease, Governance, and Climate Change
Franklin, S. 2016. Book Review: Moving Health Sovereignty in Africa: Disease, Governance, and Climate Change. African Studies Quarterly. 16 (3-4), pp. 202-203.

Book review: Aid, growth and poverty
Franklin, S. 2016. Book review: Aid, growth and poverty. Medicine, Conflict, and Survival. 32 (3), pp. 249-250. https://doi.org/10.1080/13623699.2016.1247942

Book review: Managing global health security: the World Health Organization and Disease outbreak control
Franklin, S. 2016. Book review: Managing global health security: the World Health Organization and Disease outbreak control. Medicine, Conflict, and Survival. 32 (3), pp. 247-248. https://doi.org/10.1080/13623699.2016.1247941

Book Review: Rising Anthills: African and African American Writing on Female Genital Excision
Franklin, S. 2012. Book Review: Rising Anthills: African and African American Writing on Female Genital Excision. African Studies Quarterly. 13 (1-2), pp. 110-114.

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/q50w6/ethics-security-and-an-invisible-process-when-fieldwork-gets-wrapped-up-in-red-tape


Share this
Tweet
Email

Usage statistics

29 total views
0 total downloads
0 views this month
0 downloads this month
These values are for the period from September 2nd 2018, when this repository was created

Export as