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    Conducting Field Research Amid Violence: Experiences from Colombia
    Conducting research in violent environments poses particular challenges for researchers and participants. The current chapter explores factors that influence field research in Colombia prior to and immediately following the peace accord in 2016, which formally ended the country's 50-year conflict between the government and the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (after its Spanish abbreviation FARC). The authors include Colombian and international researchers, practitioners, and academics and offers three proposals. First, working in violent contexts demands that the research is flexible and responds to the participants’ voices and needs. This type of research may be particularly coherent with Participatory Action Research (PAR), which explicitly recognizes the power and agency of local actors who navigate conflict issues on a daily basis. Second, we demonstrate how ongoing violence poses obstacles, offers opportunities, and shapes each phase of investigation, such as research design and data collection. For example, we discuss how to select regions to study that are safe for the team and for participants to engage in research. Relatedly, a strong, local network is essential to research on sensitive social issues relating to on-going conflict dynamics. Third, the inclusion of emerging researchers, particularly from the conflict setting, in the team may increase local capacity as well as the longevity of the project. We reflect on the challenges and opportunities to including emerging researchers and conclude the chapter by suggesting how these issues may apply to other conflict and post-agreement settings.
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