MA Peace and Conflict Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Practical Approaches to Studying Conflict Affected Societies

Course unit fact file
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 and its centre-piece is a working research visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The module will introduce students to key pieces of literature and ideas that help us conduct field research and 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 (PCS) 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.
  • To improve oral (through class discussions and presentations) and written (through the assessed essay) skills.

Assessment methods

Assignment 1: A Presentation  (25%)

Assignment 2: A 3000 word essay, (75%)


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., S. Pogodda and J. Ramović, eds. (2016), Palgrave’s Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace, Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Richmond O., and Gezim Visoka, eds., (2020) The Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Peace and Conflict Studies,
  • Mac Ginty, R., R. Brett and B. Vogel, eds. (2020), The Companion to Peace and Conflict Fieldwork, Springer International Publishing AG.
  • Rivas, A., and B. C. Browne (2018), Experiences in Researching Conflict and Violence: Fieldwork Interrupted, Policy Press.
  • Bliesemann de Guevara, B., and Morten Bøås eds. (2020), Doing Fieldwork in Areas of International Intervention: A Guide to Research in Violent and Closed Contexts, Bristol University Press.
  • Mac Ginty R., ed. (2013) Handbook on Peacebuilding, Routledge.
  • Sriram C. L. et al. eds. (2009) Surviving field research: Working in violent and difficult situations, Routledge.
  • Millar, G. (2014) An Ethnographic Approach to Peacebuilding – Understanding Local Experiences in Transitional States, Routledge.
  • Cramer, C. et al. eds. (2009), Researching Violence in Africa: Ethical and Methodological Challenges, Brill.

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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