MA Peace and Conflict Studies

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Practical Approaches to Studying Conflict Affected Societies

Unit code POLI71102
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module builds on the Peace and Conflict Studies MA semester 1 core module. It focuses on the ethics and practicalities of fieldwork. Its centre-piece is a working research visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The module will introduce students to key pieces of literature and ideas that help us critically appraise the uses and practices of fieldwork. The aim is to deconstruct how information is collected and collated in the name of peace and conflict studies research. We will examine issues of positionality and epistemology and consider the role of power in research and publication. The module is participative – not just through the research visit – and we encourage you to reflect on how you conceptualise the external world and the ways that you seek to intellectually organise it. The research visit is compulsory to pass the module.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able:

  • To interrogate key concepts and theories related to the ethics and practicalities of research on peace and conflict.
  • To reflect on your own positionality with regard to research.
  • To consider the nature of power and agency in relation to research.
  • To engage critically with relevant literature.
  • To engage actively in fieldwork.

Assessment methods

Assignment 1: A Presentation  (20%)

Assignment 2: A 2800 word essay, (70%)

Assignment 3: Participation (10%)

Recommended reading

  • A detailed weekly reading schedule is laid out in the handbook. The following are general texts that discuss methodologies commonly used in Peace and Conflict Studies and thus give students a good introduction to the course:

    • Richmond, O.P., S. Pogodda, and J. Ramovi¿ (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace (London: Palgrave, 2016).
    • M. Smyth ed., Researching Violently Divided Societies: Ethical and Methodological Issues (London: Pluto 2001). Available online.
    • Chandra Lekha Sriram et al eds., Surviving field research: Working in violent and difficult situations (London: Routledge 2009).
    • C. Cramer et al eds., Researching Violence in Africa: Ethical and Methodological challenges (Leiden: Brill 2009). Available online.
    • V. Desai and R. Potter, Doing Development Research (London: Sage 2006). Available online.
    • S. Laws et al, Research for Development (London: Sage 2003). Available online.
    • T. Jacoby, Understanding Conflict and Violence (London: Routledge 2006). Available online.
    • M. Mauthner et al eds., Ethics in Qualitative Research (London: Sage 2002). Available online.
    • R. Chambers, Revolutions in Development Inquiry (London: Routledge 2008). Available online.
    • R. Chambers, Whose reality counts? Putting the last first (London: Intermediate Technology 1997). Available in library as high demand book.

    Journal articles:

    • C. Sylvester (2012) War Experiences/War Practices/War Theory. Millennium. 40(3): 483-503.
    • C. Brun et al (2010) Real-time research: Decolonising research practices. Development in Practice 20(7): 812-26.
    • B. Chisila et al (2010) Resisting Dominant Discourses: Implications of indigenous, African feminist theory and methods for gender and education research. Gender and Education 22(6): 617-32.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Fieldwork 35
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 95

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jasmin Ramovic Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Thursday 12-2

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