In recent decades there has been increasing media attention to mass atrocities such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other gross human rights violations. At the same time, there has been a vast increase in the number of academics and researchers seeking to analyze the causes of, and offer practical responses to, these atrocities. Yet there remains insufficient discussion of the practical and ethical challenges surrounding research into serious abuses where researchers operate under difficult circumstances and deal with vulnerable populations. Respect for and protection of interlocutors and researchers and the challenges of assessing the veracity of information gathered in research in conflict areas are issues that arise with greater frequency in academic field research, yet rarely arise as a central topic of scholarly study. That the ethical issues surrounding human rights fieldwork receive scant

attention in existing literature on qualitative research is deeply troubling. Without a set of materials acknowledging and examining these issues, university professors face great difficulty in adequately preparing their students embarking on qualitative studies that bring them into conflict areas and in conflict with vulnerable populations. In the absence of academic analysis and debate on these important issues, field researchers act without the benefit of the knowledge and experiences of their colleagues and, thus, continually find themselves reinventing the wheel. The stress of determining effective research strategies in the field on a case-by-case basis, under pressure, in isolation and without considered connection to praxis, weighs heavily on researchers and their subjects, underlying possibilities for short-and long-term fruitful collaboration. With this book we seek to help researchers identify and address challenges

in conducting qualitative research in difficult circumstances; circumstances such as in autocratic or uncooperative regimes and with governmental or non-governmental officials and, perhaps most importantly, with reluctant respondents such as victims of genocide, or (on the other side of the coin) war criminals. How do we gain authentic information and generate credible

knowledge from research in difficult places and from difficult audiences? Can we do this? Are there practical and ethical solutions to the challenges and barriers often put before us? In this way we strive to inform ongoing debate about responsible scholarship, and seek to inform not just students and scholars, but also policymakers engaged in research in difficult situations.