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Past event

Methodologies for researching with the most disadvantaged in situations of conflict

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Online registration has now closed. If you want to attend this event, please email for details of how to register onsite.

Central to research on conflict are issues of social justice and social exclusion. While experiences of inequality and discrimination may contribute to hostilities, disadvantaged groups are also likely to experience some of the most negative effects of conflict – economically, socially and educationally. Despite this, research in situations of conflict often fails to capture (or to capture effectively) the perspectives of the most disadvantaged. In some cases, this reflects the difficulties of gaining access to educational settings and participants in contexts characterised by suspicion, fear and displacement; in other cases, a focus on the role of political elites and international organisations can take precedence, marginalising other voices. Researchers who are able to overcome these challenges often find themselves faced with others: the contested nature of ‘disadvantage’ among different parties; the task of managing one’s identity as ‘insider’/’outsider’; and the frequent tension between the constructive and destructive roles of education in a divided society. Moreover, they may be faced with particular questions about the relevance, value and ethics of research in settings experiencing ongoing violent conflict.

The aim of this seminar is to explore the range of methodological concerns and issues encountered by researchers in this area, share experiences and perspectives from the field, and identify examples of effective practice in researching within the most disadvantaged in situations of conflict. The discussion will address topics such as:

  • effective approaches to involving disadvantaged and ‘hidden’ groups in research on education and conflict;
  • the concept of ‘disadvantage’ in situations of conflict and division;
  • the relationship between conflict and disadvantage in children and young people’s lives;
  • the ethical dimension of research with those most affected by conflict;
  • insider/outsider perspectives and issues of researcher reflexivity;
  • the purpose and impact of educational research with the most disadvantage in situations of conflict.
09.30 Registration, tea and coffee
10.00 Introductions
10.30 Integrated education in Israel: anthropological reflections on the negotiation of identities and conflicting narratives
Dr Zvi Bekerman (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
11.30 Break
11.45 Researching youth marginalisation and punishment: reflections on critical social research in ‘post conflict’ Northern Ireland
Dr Siobhán McAlister (Queen’s University Belfast)
12.45 Lunch
13.45 Designing, delivering and evaluating interventions for war-affected children in Uganda and the DR Congo
Dr John McMullen (Stranmillis University College) and Dr Paul O’Callaghan (Education Authority NI)
14.45 Roundtable discussions
Facilitated by staff from the Centre for Shared Education, Queen’s University Belfast
15.45 Closing remarks
16.00 Close of meeting


BERA offer a limited amount of bursaries for BERA Student Members only.

  • Bursaries are available for BERA Student Members to the value of £50 towards travel, and complimentary registration for the event.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please email with a 200 word statement on why you want to attend this event. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Once approved you will be sent details of how to register online. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA in the current year.