Sharing Knowledge; Sharing Power

01 Jan 2525 - 00:00

1 October 2015; London

A knowledge exchange[1] event to share experience and identify best practice across academia, the voluntary sector, and grassroots peer-led organisations in involving refugee women in research about refugee women’s experiences.

At Sharing Knowledge; Sharing Power, 7 women who are refugees and have experience of research, 7 current academic researchers interested in and supportive of refugee experience, and 7 NGO professionals who are not refugees themselves, who understand these issues and support women refugees, will meet to talk about how to make it easier to involve participants in designing and producing research – as partners with professional researchers.

In recent years there have been more and more efforts to involve women refugees in research about refugee experiences, especially by NGOs and community organisations that support refugees and refugee rights. However, within the academic community there is still some reluctance to adapt traditional research methods to increase active involvement of research participants in different stages of the research process. There are many sides to this story, and many perspectives on the advantages and challenges of involving research participants in designing and producing research projects.

For women refugees who participate in research, it is important to know how their information will be used – this is part of the relationship of trust that they need to build with the researchers. They want more involvement in designing and planning the research and deciding how it will be used. Many NGO researchers have developed ways to do this, such as advisory committees, involving women refugees as interviewers, intermediaries and recruiters.

The wider academic research community does not have the same history of using participatory approaches. Academic researchers often have concerns about the integrity of their research, and about objectivity. They also face many practical limitations, such as limited funding to pay for the extra costs of involving women refugees, or limited time – participatory approaches can take longer. More junior researchers have limited power to influence or change these restrictions.

Take a look at our event report to find out what we learned from each other on the day.

[1] “Knowledge exchange (KE) is a process which brings together academic staff, users of research and wider groups and communities to exchange ideas, evidence and expertise.” – University of Edinburgh

“Knowledge exchange is a two-way process where social scientists and individuals or organisations share learning, ideas and experiences.” – ESRC

“Knowledge Exchange is the mutually beneficial sharing of ideas, data, experience, and expertise between academics and non-academic organisations or the public.” – The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), Oxford University