Researching in Volatile Environments and the Importance of Adaptive Methods for Junior Researchers


School of Business Seminar Room, Building 27, Level 1

12.15pm to 1.15pm

This presentation examines the importance of adaptive methods for junior researchers undertaking research in volatile and dangerous environments. Through the presentation of two cases studies of the authors’ own experiences in the field, we demonstrate the way in which the use of adaptive methods is crucial for junior and inexperienced researchers to overcome unforeseen obstacles and day-to-day difficulties presented by field studies in volatile locations. Ultimately, we argue the importance of embedding a first-person narrative into the methodology sections of the project as a clear way in which a junior researcher can best demonstrate these fundamental elements of his/her data collection experience and, therefore, engage the audience with these aspects that prove crucial to the end product.


Caroline Doyle is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wollongong and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Canberra. Her doctoral work focusses on issues relating to urban violence in developing nations. She has conducted fieldwork in Medellin, Colombia on two occasions as part of her doctoral research. Caroline currently teaches courses on current legal issues, policy and politics in developing nations.

Dr Anthea McCarthy-Jones is Assistant Professor in the School of Government & Policy at the University of Canberra. She has extensive fieldwork experience in Latin America and has published articles on the politics and policies of the region. Her research interests include policy in developing nations, Latin American organised crime, and linkages between Latin America, Asia and Australia. Anthea currently teaches courses on international relations, Asia-Pacific security and politics in developing nations.