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Using mixed methods for addressing researcher's safety in a conflict area: an innovative use of mixed methods research in Zimbabwe

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Conducting robust research in a conflict or post-conflict area is complicated by concern for the researcher‟s safety and the difficulty of reaching remote areas. In this paper we open a new frontier in mixed methods (MM) research by demonstrating how it can be used to address safety concerns. We used qualitative and quantitative work carried out in and outside the conflict zone to overcome the challenges of conducting Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) research in Zimbabwe. To minimise a researcher‟s vulnerability we used the exploratory findings from each phase to focus the design of subsequent confirmatory and explanatory phases on appropriate phenomena. A rare four-phase sequential mixed methods design consisting of novel capability maps, focus groups, survey and in-depth telephone interviews is discussed. Using these methods in sequential phases proved to be safer and more robust than using mono methods in Zimbabwe at the time. Their ability to foster the collection of relevant data while reducing the researchers‟ exposure to danger is given as a key success factor towards the innovative use of MM to address safety concerns and it is presented as one of the exciting opportunities that MM offers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-52
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Mixed Methods in Applied Business and Policy Resarch
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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