Accessing the Inaccessible in Difficult Environments: The Uses and Abuses of Crowdsourcing

This paper discusses the increasing interest in crowdsourcing and other social media as research data collection methods in conflict-affected regions. It draws on a literature review and the author's experiences of setting up a crowdsourced data collection project in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It argues that crowdsourcing can be a useful supplement when conducting research in difficult-to-access areas, but should not replace field research. Reliance on remotely gathered data can give researchers an incomplete understanding of realities on the ground, which privileges the voices of those with most access to the technology.

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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New article - To Boldly Know: Knowledge, Peacekeeping and Remote Data Gathering in Conflict-Affected States

Thursday 12th October 2017

In this article in the Journal of International Peacekeeping, DLP researcher Suda Perera critically evaluates crowdsourcing's uses and abuses, and warns against an over-reliance on remotely gathered conflict data.

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Why political settlements matter

Thursday 5th October 2017

Join us on 5 Oct 2017 at ODI (10-11:30am) to discuss the research featured in a special issue of The Journal of International Development co-edited by Alina Rocha Menocal (DLP and ODI) and Jan Pospisil (Political Settlements Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh).

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