Addressing truth and ethical challenges

Observations from field research in Kosovo

author Armend Bekaj
journal GERN (ISSN: )
volume 2014
issue 2. Desistance, social order and responses to crime
section Article
publicatie datum 1 août 2014
langue English
pagina 185

The aim of field research is to collect data along with information about the context in which data are gathered. The research literature equips us with knowledge on interview techniques, highlighting the importance of valid and credible data. However, some challenges related to ethical conduct and identifying the truth become apparent only during field research. This article draws on the author’s experience in conducting elite interviews with former commanders of armed groups in Kosovo. It focuses on interviewer-interviewee rapport as essential for productive research, stressing the importance of trust, respect, empathy and parity. But caution should be placed on the triangulation of qualitative data gathered as a means of adhering to the truth narrative. An ethics-as-process approach is promoted as an integral part of the field experience, which embodies a dialogic process during the interview, the exercise of academic rigour, and insightful cultural understanding for the socio-political context where field research is conducted.