Research Ethics

Ethical reflections are always crucial in research with human subjects. This is especially the case in studies about forced migration and with displaced people. While research ethics are often referred to rules laid down in codes of ethics, there are no ‘one-fits-all’ solution. Instead, ethical consideration should furthermore concern with researcher’s positionality, power relations in research, prevention of harms due to research, and potential effects on and active involvement of participants. These and other areas are central for conducting ethically responsible research.

Below, I am sharing references to publications and further relevant guidelines.


Publications by Ulrike Krause

Krause, Ulrike (2023), ‘Forschungsethik’, in Tabea Scharrer, et al. (eds.), Flucht- und Flüchtlingsforschung. Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium (Baden-Baden: Nomos), 201-208.

Krause, Ulrike und Williams, Timothy (2021), ‘Flexible Ethikgremien. Impulse zur Institutionalisierung ethisch verantwortlicher Feldforschung in der Konflikt- und Fluchtforschung’, Soziale Probleme, 32 (1), 97-113, Link.
-> short version: Krause, Ulrike und Williams, Timothy (2021), ‘Flexible Ethikgremien als Forum für forschungsethische Reflexionen’, FluchtforschungsBlogLink.

Krause, Ulrike und von Denkowski, Cordula (2020), ‘Transfer of Knowledge for and with Whom? Ethical Reflections on Participatory Research with Displaced People’, in Monika Gonser, et al. (eds.) Wissensmobilisierung und Transfer in der Fluchtforschung: Kommunikation, Beratung und gemeinsames Forschungshandeln (Münster: Waxmann Verlag), 137-149, Link.

Krause, Ulrike (2017), ‘Researching Forced Migration. Critical Reflections on Research Ethics during Fieldwork‘, RSC Working Paper Series, No. 123 (Oxford: RSC).

Krause, Ulrike (2017), ‘Researching (with) refugees? Ethical considerations on participatory approaches’, AMMODI blog.

Krause, Ulrike (2016), ‘Feldforschung, Gefahren und Schadensminimierung. Vorschlag für eine Do No Harm-Analyse zur Schadensminimierung’, Flüchtlingsforschungsblog.

Krause, Ulrike (2016), ‘Ethische Überlegungen zur Feldforschung. Impulse für die Untersuchung konfliktbedingter Flucht‘, CCS Working Paper Series, No. 20.

Krause, Ulrike (2015), ‘Flüchtlinge als „Gegenstand“ in der Feldforschung? Forschungsethische Reflektionen zu Möglichkeiten, Risiken und Limitierungen’, FluchtforschungsBlog and Sicherheitspolitik-Blog.


Further information on ethics guidelines

Specific ethical guidelines for research with refugees have now been developed.


International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) (2018), ‘Code of ethics: Critical reflections on research ethics in situations of forced migration’, Link.
– The code of ethics is now available in French and Spanish in addition to English, see Link.

Clark-Kazak, Christina R., et al. (2017), ‘Ethical Considerations: Research with People in Situations of Forced Migration’, Refuge, 33 (2), 11-17, Link.

Refugee Studies Centre (2007), ‘Ethical Guidelines for Good Research Practice’, Refugee Survey Quarterly, 26 (3), 162-172, Link.


Christina Clark-Kazak develop the “Your rights in research”: Information sheet for people taking part in forced migration research. It is available in several languages:

Further details about the information sheet:


Additional literature

The body of literature on ethical considerations in forced migration studies in increasing and you will find edited volumes and special issues listed below.


Special issue on Research Ethics in Qualitative Research in Forum: Qualitative Social Research edited by Wolff-Michael Roth and Hella von Unger (2018), Link

Special issue on Researcher, Migrant, Woman: Methodological Implications of Multiple Positionalities in Migration Studies in Forum: Qualitative Social Research edited by Magdalena Nowicka and Louise Ryan (2015), Link

Volume on Values and Vulnerabilities. The Ethics of Research with Refugees and Asylum Seekers edited by Karen Block, Elisha Riggs and Nick Haslam (2013), Link

Volume on Doing Research with Refugees: Issues and Guidelines edited by Bogusia Temple and Rheta Moran (2011), Link

Special issue on Methodologies of Refugee Research in the Journal of Refugee Studies edited by Eftihia Voutira and Giorgia Doná (2007), Link

Special issue on Researching Refugees: Lessons, Challenges and Ways Forward in the Refugee Survey Quarterly edited by Oliver Bakewell (2007), Link

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