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IMI senior researcher Lea Müller Funk has won the IMISCOE’s Rinus Penninx Best Paper Award for her paper “Investigating mobility aspirations of refugees in fragile political contexts: Ethical reflections and methodological choices”.

The IMISCOE - Rinus Penninx Best Paper Award, in honour of the founding father of IMISCOE, is an annual award for the best paper submitted to and presented at the IMISCOE conference. The ceremony took place last Friday, during the Spring Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. 


The paper is also forthcoming with the Journal of Refugee Studies entitled “Research with refugees in fragile political contexts: How ethical reflections impact methodological choices”:

Abstract: Research with refugees poses particular ethical challenges, especially if data is collected in places where most refugees today live: namely countries neighbouring conflict, ones which are sometimes at war with their country of origin and where refugees are exposed to different degrees of legal vulnerability, posing security risks to participants and researchers alike. These challenges are exacerbated when data is collected across countries and includes survey research. The paper adds to the emergent literature on ethics in forced displacement by highlighting how security precautions and ethical considerations influence and shape methodological choices. Based on recent fieldwork with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey in 2018, the paper discusses a mixed-methods approach combining in-depth interviews with an individual survey based on multi-stage cluster sampling, random walks and limited focused enumeration. Advocating for a refugee-centred approach, it elaborates on: (i) how to negotiate ‘ethics in practice’; (ii) how risks and violence influence the choice of fieldwork sites; and (iii) how ethical considerations impact in particular quantitative or mixed-methods studies. It describes the advantages of including members of refugee populations in research teams, as well as open challenges with regards to risks, informed consent, confidentiality, sensitive issues, positionality, advocacy, and collaborative writing efforts.


Keywords: refugee studies, ethics, methodology, mixed methods, security