In recent years, conducting field research has become an increasingly risky endeavour, particularly in states or regions characterized by violent conflict, repressive political regimes, or state failure. Working under such conditions, or with marginalized communities facing similar circumstances, is challenging. Researchers need to protect themselves, and those with whom they work. They need to find ways to assure the physical safety of their respondents, and they must consider whether and how confidentiality can be maintained. Despite the fact that scholars across a range of disciplines face more and more challenges, guidance on how to prepare and conduct safe research was not readily available. This project thus brought together scholars in a series of workshops and professional Hostile Environment and Emergency First Aid Trainings (HEFAT) to discuss security issues related to fieldwork. The result is a handbook, Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences (Sage, 2020), that aims at creating guidance on how to prepare and conduct safer research within the social sciences.
2015 LGPI Tunisia
Officials’ interaction with citizens at the local level and the provision of basic services can shape how citizens see the state and their trust in public officials. It is thus not surprising that Tunisia has debated and passed new laws governing local government in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution. Yet, little is known of the nature of local governance in Tunisia, the capacity and practices of local governments, the variation in the provision of basic services across the country. The project on Governance and Service Delivery in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia sheds light on these questions. The first stage was the implementation of the Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI) in 18 municipalities, including three in each of six governorates. The goal of the project is to extend this assessment to all 24 governorates in Tunisia, and to complement the survey data with studies of municipalities and health facilities in these same municipalities. Taken together, this will provide a comprehensive picture of the success and challenges facing different municipalities, thus helping citizens, government officials and development specialists to pinpoint needs, direct efforts and resources appropriately, and measure progress.
2016 LGPI Malawi
The project on Gender, Governance and Representation is a collaborative effort between the Program on Governance and Local Development at Gothenburg, Ragnhild Muriaas and Lise Rakner at the Department of Comparative Politics in Bergen, Norway, Vibeke Wang at the Christian Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway, and Boniface Dulani at Chancellor College, University of Malawi. The study seeks to understand the drivers of governance and service provision at the local level, paying particular attention to the attitudes toward and experiences of women. It will draw on qualitative case study research, a public opinion survey that includes core components of the Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI), and elite interviews at the municipal level. It is part of a larger cross-national project led by the Chr. Michelsen Institute on the impact of gender based aid on representation as well as the efforts to measure local governance cross-nationally through the LGPI. This study is particularly important in Malawi today, as elected local councils were only reintroduced in 2014 and debates over decentralization are on-going.