This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

  UNU Home           UNUP Home           Publications           Staff           Feedback           Search           Contacts           Disclaimer
Researching Conflict in Africa: Insights and Experiences
Edited by Elisabeth Porter, Gillian Robinson, Marie Smyth, Albrecht Schnabel, and Eghosa Osaghae
ISBN 92-808-1119-3
October 2005
  160 pages
Description | Contents | Authors/Editors | Contributors
Barnes and Noble
United Nations Publications
  • Course adoption
  • Request for review copies

    Search inside book with Google
  • Read Sample Chapter [PDF filesize = 303 KB]

    Parts of Africa experience persistent violence and seemingly intractable conflicts. These generally have deep historical roots dating to colonial periods and before, and many of them have become more destructive in the post-Cold war period.

    These violent conflicts have drawn researchers seeking to determine and explain why conflicts are prevalent, what makes them intensify, and how conflicts can be resolved. However much of the literature on research methodology does not address the complexities of conducting research in the midst of violent conflict and massive ethno-political disputes.

    This book directly addresses these issues. It examines the ethical and practical issues of researching within violent and divided societies. It provides fascinating and factual case studies from Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa. The authors provide insights about researching conflict in Africa that can only be gained through fieldwork experience.

    This book is of interest to all researchers interested in Africa and to those involved in research about, and within, societies experiencing conflict and violence.

    Elisabeth Porter is INCORE Research Director at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Gillian Robinson is INCORE Director and ARK Director at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Marie Smyth is the Head of Research and Communication for Criminal Justice Inspection, Northern Ireland. Albrecht Schnabel is a Senior Research Fellow at swisspeace, Bern, and a Lecturer at the Institute of Political Science, University of Bern, Switzerland. Eghosa Osaghae is a Professor of Political Science & Vice-Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Nigeria.


  • Introduction
  • The role and function of research in a divided society: A case study of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria
  • Methodological lessons: Working with Liberian and Togolese refugees in Ghana
  • Applying social work practice to the study of ethnic militias: The Oduduwa People's Congress in Nigeria
  • Researching ethno-political conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Accessing the child's voice: Methods used in South Africa
  • Insider-Outsider issues in researching violent and divided societies
  • Certainty, subjectivity and truth: Reflections on the ethics of wartime research in Angola
  • Gender research in violently divided societies: Methods and ethics of 'international' researchers
  • Preventing and managing violent conflict: The role of the researcher
  • Conflict research and policy influence
  • Conclusion: reflections on contemporary research in Africa


  • Dr Bolanle Akande Adetoun
  • Dominic K. Agyeman
  • Isaac Olawale Albert
  • Erin K. Baines
  • Arsène Mwaka Bwenge
  • Jacqui Gallinetti
  • Eghosa E. Osaghae
  • Elisabeth Porter
  • Gillian Robinson
  • Albrecht Schnabel
  • Marie Smyth
  • Zoë Wilson

  • UNU home