Call for Papers:


Research Methods and Research Ethics
– Confronting Ethical Challenges in IR Data Collection and Analysis


Workshop of DVPW Section ‘International Relations’
Braunschweig, October 9-10, 2019


Ethical questions have accompanied IR from early on, in research as well as practice: This includes debates about ‘just and unjust wars’, the identification of ´aggressors´ and ´defenders´, or practical policy recommendations, for instance linked to military interventions. While these substantive ethical questions of IR have often been discussed, there is less systematic reflection on ethical questions linked to research methods of IR. This gap is particularly astonishing given the large empirical agenda of current IR research - including the regular use of large data sets, the growth of ethnographic research, and the manifold methodological approaches of data collection and analysis.


This workshop takes up the link of research methods and research ethics, with a particular focus on data collection and analysis. We focus on three interrelated issues: Firstly, we are interested in the juxtaposition of specific methods and their respective ethical challenges. Which research methods seem to require more ethical reflection and why? Are ethical considerations more often applied in the context of particular methods and if so, what are the consequences for these and other methods? Secondly, we aim to examine different ethical perspectives on data collection and analysis: Are there different, potentially conflicting, ethical obligations toward the individuals or groups analysed, towards the researcher carrying out the research, or towards research integrity? Finally, the workshop aims to explore the institutional contexts in which ethical questions are or are not reflected. This includes – but is not limited to – benefits and problems of ethical review boards or the growth of regulation that might be an obstacle to individual and collective research progress.


The workshop provides an opportunity to discuss ethical dimensions of research methods in IR, broadly conceived. It aims to cross boundaries between qualitative and quantitative research traditions, as both can face ethical challenges.


The call is open to participants at different stages of their career, using different methods and working in different fields of IR. The call is also addressed at potential participants from other DVPW sections and working groups.


We particularly invite papers that address the following topics (but are not restricted to those):


  • Ethical questions linked to methods used in conflict, post-conflict or otherwise violent contextss
  • Ethical questions and quantitative data analyses (incl. data fusion, ‘artificial intelligence’)
  • The potential trade-offs between ‘better data’ and ‘ethical data’
  • The use of data in policy contexts, in particular if the quality of such data is questionable
  • Institutional frameworks and responsibility for ethical research methods and results
  • Ownership of data and questions of informed consent in quantitative and qualitative studies


Abstracts of about 400 words should be send to dvpw-ib@tu-braunschweig.de until July 15, 2019. The main language of the workshop will be German, but papers and presentation can also be done in English. Participants will be notified until July 30, 2019. Papers are expected on Sep 30, 2019.


Locally, the workshop is organized by Anja P. Jakobi and Katharina Mann. It takes place in the ‘House of Science’ in Braunschweig. There are no conference fees, but participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. Further information on accommodations and location will be published on our website  www.tu-braunschweig.de/ib/forschung/dvpw the next months.

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