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Reflecting on Innovative Methods and Methodological Innovation across the Gender, Justice, and Security Hub (2020-2023)

Alba Rosa Boer Cueva | Published on December 7, 2023

Overview

This brief report examines the changes in the Hub and its projects’ methods and methodologies over time, as well as the role that the Hub has come to play in shifting members’ thinking on methods and methodologies. Emphasising the Hub’s commitment to methodological diversity, adaptability in challenging contexts, ethical reflection, interdisciplinary learning, and boundary expansion, the report highlights the strides, complexities, and lessons learnt throughout the last five years.

Underscoring the role of the Hub in cultivating a dynamic and reflective research culture, it shows how the Hub supported methodological innovation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, budget cuts, and deteriorating security situations in partner countries; its increasing focus on care-centred approaches; and promotion of interdisciplinary collaboration in methodological approaches.

The report also discusses the limitations, including the effects of resource constraints, and reduced access to informants due to crises in specific partner countries. It also acknowledges the necessity for deeper cross-disciplinary dialogues and sustained ethical reflexivity. Ultimately, the report offers insight into the multifaceted research landscape and methodological development of the Hub and its projects, which while facing serious difficulties, promoted a nuanced, ethical, and adaptable methodological approach to research on gender, justice, and security.

Key Findings

  • Projects showed a commitment to diverse methods including traditional, interdisciplinary, and innovative approaches, with marked growth in innovative methods such as arts-based approaches, and unique data collection methods.
  • Researchers were flexible and adaptable in the face of significant challenges, pivoting from in-person fieldwork to creative online methods, adjusting data collection strategies, and resource management through community collaboration.
  • There was heightened engagement with ethical considerations, leading to a notable shift towards relationship-centred practices, fostering a holistic and care-centred approach.
  • While fostering interdisciplinary learning, a lack of fundamental cross-disciplinary conversations presented an important limitation and affected the depth of engagement between projects.
  • Participation within the Hub triggered deeper reflections on power dynamics and ethical research methodologies, inspiring researchers to challenge traditional frameworks and pursue more context-specific and considerate research practices.

Recommendations

  • Encourage further interdisciplinary dialogues and engagements on epistemology and methodology to deepen cross-disciplinary learning.
  • Invest in sustaining ethical reflexivity and feminist ethics within research practices.
  • Foster an environment that supports methodological innovation and diverse approaches while addressing resource limitations.
  • Promote ongoing collaborative initiatives that transcend disciplinary boundaries to foster holistic and adaptive research methodologies.